Roy Brown, MLIS, AHIP
Associate Professor, Research and Education Librarian
Health Sciences Library
Virginia Commonwealth University
Editor’s note: On a regular basis we publish profiles of librarians who have been an integral part of Doody Enterprises, whether they have served on our Library Board of Advisors, as a Librarian Selector for Doody’s Core Titles, or on the editorial board/as a List Selector for Doody’s Special Topics Lists. This month, we are profiling a librarian who has served as a Librarian Selector for Doody’s Core Titles for many years: Roy Brown of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Where do you currently work and what is your position?
I am a research and education librarian at the Health Sciences Library at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. I am the library liaison to the nurses of VCU Health and serve the students, faculty, and staff of the VCU School of Nursing.
Provide a brief description of your library and its services.
The Health Sciences Library is one of two libraries that make up VCU Libraries, including the James Branch Cabell Library. The Health Sciences Library serves the five professional schools that compose the medical campus of VCU as well as the staff of VCU Health. The library is made up of three floors with book stacks located on the second floor, along with a computer classroom, a lecture room, a lactation room, and nine study rooms available for use by the members of the VCU community. There is additional study space and a makerspace on the main floor, as well as a special collections reading room where items from the VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives can be viewed by appointment. The print journal collection is housed in the basement, along with a collaboration room, poster printer, and audio and video studios. All of these inviting spaces and technology would be nothing without the library liaisons and other staff members who provide services to meet the ever-growing needs of the VCU medical campus. The library staff is what makes the library great, and I feel privileged to work with so many talented staff members.
When did you start in medical librarianship? What was your position? With what institution?
I started my library career in 2008 as a graduate assistant at the Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where I worked in the reference department. It was a great learning experience as I handled questions from all disciplines and was blessed with great mentors who helped shape my future library career. Upon leaving my first position, I took my first full-time job as the librarian at the Griffin Memorial Hospital, a residential psychiatric hospital in Norman, Oklahoma. The library’s main focus was to serve the needs of the psychiatry residency training program. When I arrived, the library had not been operational for several years, so I spent most of my time there reestablishing the library, which entailed planning out the new space for the library, getting a handle on what was in the library collection, and cataloging it. I also helped establish a library website and set up an interlibrary loan service. I only stayed in this role for about a year before leaving for the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Sciences Library to become a research and education librarian, where, for the last 12 years, I have served as the nursing liaison.
Name two of the most important issues facing health sciences librarianship today.
One current challenge faced by librarians is recruiting and retaining new librarians, which includes making a real effort to diversify the profession. A second issue involves identifying new opportunities and training as the landscape changes around information science with artificial intelligence and machine learning taking on a more significant role. Evolving as a profession to meet these challenges is critical to staying relevant.
Why do you serve as a Doody’s Core Titles Librarian Selector?
I serve as a Librarian Selector because I find it professionally fulfilling to review and select books in various areas. This process has been challenging as I have selected titles in three different areas over the years. However, I find the process interesting and like seeing the end results every year.
What is one thing you want to make sure all librarians know about Doody’s services?
Doody’s Core Titles is a great process, and the staff of Doody’s services are easy to work with. I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a Librarian Selector to volunteer, as the process is professionally fulfilling and an excellent way to share your expertise in a particular area of collection development.
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you have any questions about my experience as a Librarian Selector, please feel free to contact me via email (email@example.com).