DCT Librarian Selector Profile: Karen O’Grady, MA, MLIS
LBA Profile/CaseStudy
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Nursing, Health Care Informatics & Allied Health Librarian 
Helen K. and James S. Copley Library 
University of San Diego 

Where do you currently work and what is your position? 

I work at the University of San Diego in San Diego, California. I am the embedded librarian for the Hahn School of Nursing and the Beyster Institute of Nursing Research. 

Provide a brief description of your library and its services. 

USD’s Copley Library is the main library on our campus. We offer a 24/7 reference chat, individual research consultations, and several workshops. I taught a PubMed workshop this semester and an APA workshop last semester. Copley also hosts our famous Digital Initiatives Symposium every April, led by my colleague Amanda Makula. 

When did you start in health sciences librarianship? What was your position? With what institution? 

In 2005, I was hired for the job that changed my life. It was a library assistant position at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. In 2006, I enrolled in library school with the goal of becoming a medical librarian. 

Name two of the most important issues facing the profession today. 

Great things happen when librarians talk to each other and share their projects and ideas. We quietly lost that when everything went virtual and small talk disappeared. It turns out that small talk is where big ideas start. On the same note, most librarians are not provided with the time, resources, or guidance required to conduct their own research — it is kind of the ultimate irony. I feel very fortunate that my institution strongly supports my research. Librarians need to do research so our profession can grow and improve. 

What is one innovation, product, or service in your library that you’re excited about? 

I was hired during the height of the COVID shutdown and, consequently, my interactions with students were limited to Zoom. I started answering their research and reference questions by recording short Zoom videos of myself demonstrating responses to their questions. Now that we are back on campus, I still answer questions with videos. Students give me overwhelmingly positive feedback about them. 

Why do you enjoy serving as a Doody’s Core Titles Librarian Selector and as a DSTL Editorial Board Member? 

I learned about Doody’s while working at my first hospital library. It is so cool that I now get to contribute to Doody’s amazing services! I know librarians trust Doody’s recommendations, and from my view inside of the selection and rating processes, I strongly approve of Doody’s method of choosing and rating books. It is very thoughtful and produces fair and quality recommendations.  

Anything else you’d like to share? 

Yes, two more things: 

If you are a nursing librarian with big ideas, please reach out to me. I am hatching a long-term plan to make nursing librarianship its own thing — separate from medical librarianship and allied health. Nurses and nursing students are unique library patrons with unique information needs. Nearly every nursing librarian works alone. I think we could do much more for nurses and for evidence-based nursing if we talked and shared with one another. 

I’d also like to give a big shout out to Tim Butzen and everyone at Doody’s! Tim’s stellar communication and diplomacy in managing Doody’s reviewers are why I love contributing to Doody’s. Everyone at Doody’s makes it easy and fun to be a part of the excellent services they provide. 

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