LBA Profile: John Gallagher, MLS
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Editor’s Note: On a regular basis, we publish the profile of a member of Doody’s Library Board of Advisors (LBA). The LBA has guided the development of our company’s library services since our inception. With gratitude, this month we present the profile of John Gallagher of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale School of Medicine.

Currently I serve as the Director of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University’s School of Medicine. Our library’s rich and diverse collection of information resources, tools, and software, and our dedicated and talented staff support and advance the clinical, research, and education goals of individuals and teams in one of the leading academic medical centers in the country. My position is truly fulfilling as I get to work on a daily basis with a host of remarkably talented people, deeply dedicated to our users and to patient care, research, and education.

My introduction to medical librarianship is not a particularly traditional one. I was working for RPS, the precursor to FedEx Ground, and on track for a career in that field. The work was fun, but a bit hectic, particularly around the holidays. With a young family, I found myself looking for a better work/life balance. A friend at Yale suggested I consider working in the library system and offered me an opportunity as a casual employee at the Yale Library Shelving Facility. Five months later I was hired to manage the Medical Library’s Circulation Department during evenings and weekends, and shortly thereafter became the Head of Circulation. That was almost 20 years ago. My library director and mentor, R. Kenny Marone, encouraged and motivated me to pursue a master’s in library science, which I worked on during nights and weekends. A passion for my work and increasing levels of responsibility within the library ultimately led me to my current position.

Perhaps the most challenging issues facing medical librarianship today pertain to scholarly communications. Libraries’ budgets simply cannot keep pace with both the escalating costs of electronic resources and the expanding medical and scientific knowledgebase. Add requests for APC support to the mix, and the financial tenability of addressing each of these demands is daunting. Until there’s some stability in the scholarly communications landscape, health sciences libraries are going to continue to wrestle with challenging collection management and development decisions.

When Dan Doody invited me to serve on Doody’s Library Board of Advisors earlier this year, I gladly accepted. I got to know Dan through his work with the MLA Insight Initiatives and was impressed with his commitment to libraries and to ensuring delivery of the highest quality information resources. Given the budgetary challenges libraries struggle with, Doody’s reviews help collection development librarians identify the best and most important resources.  

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