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April 8, 2014 / Christian M.

Trip to Birmingham…and Thinking About What’s Next

The view of the clouds on my flight to Birmingham

I was away all last week for my Spring Practicum. The practicum is an opportunity for Associate Fellows to spend a week at a health sciences library of their choice anywhere in the country. During the visit, they observe library operations, learn about the institutional environment, meet with with the director, librarians, staff, and sometimes members of the institution’s administration. Sometimes an Associate may complete a project or give a presentation as part of the practicum. There may also be social activities like going out to dinner with library staff.

I selected the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences (LHL) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). LHL is one of the resource libraries of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. This library attracted me because they have an academic health science library, clinical library, and patient resource library — all my areas of interest in one place! I also wanted to learn more about UAB’s merger of all the campus libraries into one organization to serve the whole campus. I will share more details about my experience in my next post. I really enjoyed the visit — the LHL library faculty and staff are great, and the workplace culture is awesome!



I visited a couple of civil rights historical sites. Here I am at the Kelly Ingram Park — the site of important civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham in the 1960s.

Other highlights of my trip were connecting with friends. I met up with Sabrina, one of my friends from my ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce cohort. We visited the Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park. Thanks to the wonders of social media, my Twitter friend @laurendodd saw a post on LHL’s Facebook page that I was in the area. We had never met in person, but have been following each other on Twitter for a couple of years. On the spur of the moment, she invited me to come hang out with her and a group of her librarian friends. I had a good time and appreciate the hospitality.


A distant view of Birmingham’s Vulcan Statute — the largest cast iron statute in the world.

Now I’m back home, and getting back into the swing of working on projects. The proposal letters from second year hosts have arrived. Ahhh! More decisions to think about. I’m still looking for jobs, but at the moment I’m leaning more towards continuing into a second year of the Associate Fellowship. There are two host sites that I am particularly interested in. I just have some thinking to do, and I need to talk to them to find out a little more about the libraries and their projects. Decisions, decisions…



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