John Mokonyama, MS, MBA, MSLS, AHIP-S
The Healthcare Library
Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital
Editor’s note: On a regular basis, we publish profiles of librarians who have been an integral part of Doody Enterprises, whether they in serve in an advisory or editorial capacity. This month, we are profiling one of our newest Doody’s Core Titles Librarian Selectors: John Mokonyama of Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital.”
Where do you currently work and what is your position?
I currently serve as Medical Librarian at Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital in West Chester, Pennsylvania. My responsibilities include medical research, bibliographic instruction, reference, budget planning, acquisitions, cataloging, collection development, license negotiations, print and electronic resources access, acquisitions, and library strategic planning. I have been in my current role for almost eight years.
Provide a brief description of your library and its services.
Chester County Hospital’s Medical Library provides research services, educational resources, and tools for physicians, nurses, staff, students, and the community. We offer other services that include bibliographic instruction, interlibrary loans, book club, research consultations, and computer literacy modules.
When did you start in health sciences librarianship? What was your position? With what institution?
I loved books and reading from a very early age. My interest in libraries started when I worked as Research and Access Services Librarian at Eastern University, a small liberal arts university in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Librarians were valued and helped students and faculty with research needs. I found the work of librarians exciting, caring, challenging, and rewarding and wanted to be a part of such a team. That experience sparked my interest and led me down the path to an extraordinarily enriching career!
In 2016, I started in health science librarianship at Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital (CCH) as Medical Librarian. Within a few months of being hired and through the support of my supervisor, I knew that I belonged in health sciences librarianship. When I started at CCH, the library provided minimal user services. Over the years, the library expanded its services, automated processes, created a healthy mix of print and electronic resources, and adapted to meeting current patron research needs.
Name two of the most important issues facing the profession today.
First, medical literature and technology are changing rapidly. Keeping up with the changes can pose a challenge in providing current services and literature sources.
The second challenge is distinguishing credible research sources from the widespread availability and fraudulent online medical advice. Given the current state of online publication and the rise of artificial intelligence technologies, libraries play an important role in helping users to distinguish trusted, accurate health information from sensational claims. We are living in an age where information literacy is more important than ever before.
What is one innovation, product, or service in your library that you’re excited about?
I am excited about the service that we will be launching soon. Our library is planning to launch the ORCID iD service to our staff. The service will increase visibility of our staff publication, automate the process of linking authors’ accounts, and make it easier to import content from different database sources.
Why do you serve as a DCT Librarian Selector?
My hiring as Medical Librarian replaced the positions of two retiring librarians. Each of the librarians had been in my position for 30 years. During my orientation, they each told me to pay special attention to Doody publications because “Doody saves time, is reliable, written by experts in the field, and is an invaluable service for making library book selections.”
Serving as a DCT Librarian Selector has been an integral part of my journey in the medical librarian research realm. One aspect that stands out for me is how Doody is unbiased and upholds integrity while being nimble and agile. Whenever I face collection development challenges, I look at Doody Collection Titles. Doody gives me greater confidence and tools in the work that I do as a medical research librarian. The bonus of being a DCT Librarian Selector is that you get to meet, collaborate, and work with other librarians across the country. It is exciting and a special treat to work with professionals who are passionate about high quality health resources.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am looking forward to the emerging AI technologies for research. However, I also think it is critical for librarians to understand the capabilities and limitations of the new technologies to better serve our patrons and use the new tools only where they are applicable.