Chief of Academic Support and Library Director
Franzello Aeromedical Library
USAF School of Aerospace Medicine
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
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 since 2009: Kristen L. Young of the Franzello Aeromedical Library at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
I followed in my family’s footsteps by attending the University of Pittsburgh in the field of higher education to be a school librarian — or so I thought. Shortly after moving to Steel City, I took one course in medical librarianship from Dr. Ellen Detlefsen and everything else was quickly in my rear view.
Simply put, I fell in love with something that we, collectively as librarians, could do to assist people in their greatest times of need — such as those seeking information about a diagnosis they received from their doctor. I remember one library visitor recounting they were at an office visit when their physician asked them to come and stand behind him as he typed at the computer, “You have cancer,” because even he couldn’t speak the words aloud to his patient the “right” way. For many, when you first see or hear a life-altering diagnosis like this for yourself or a loved one, your world closes in and your hearing goes muffled. You aren’t hearing the next steps. You’re not thinking, “Why me?” You’re just not thinking. Not many understand the diagnosis, what it means, how their life will change its trajectory in that instant, and potentially how much time they’ll have to say, “I’ll see you later.” Librarians can assist patients and their families in finding information once they have processed the news.
Librarians are professionals of their practice in the study of library and information science who empower others through locating the best evidence in support of the practice of medicine so they can make the best decisions for their families. Doody’s Core Titles helps librarians do just that by serving as a constant in an ever-changing world of uncertainty that, every year, lists the essential texts in the health sciences, selected together by both librarians and experts with long careers in the subject matter.
For me, being accepted into the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Biomedical Informatics Short Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts felt like “standing upon the shoulders of giants.” But really, I’ve been lucky; each and every moment of my career has been beyond my wildest dreams. I don’t dare do this work alone — I do it with my colleagues whom I’ve known for many years and now call my friends. They have been just as persistent in ensuring we each succeed, as Doody’s has been in ensuring we succeed as a nation.
As Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Librarians and Doody’s are the helpers.
I began in medical libraries in 2009 at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library at the University of Maryland, Baltimore under the directorship of M.J. Tooey as the Liaison and Outreach Librarian to the School of Nursing. M.J. and her driven and exceptionally talented team as well as the School of Nursing gave the foundation I needed to get started. I am now the Chief of Academic Support and Director of the Franzello Aeromedical Library at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The library had its beginnings at Hazelhurst Field, New York in 1926 and is both the oldest and largest aeromedical library in the world.
In 2019, the Franzello Aeromedical Library began their library modernization in three key areas — collection, capability, and facility — to become a cutting-edge resource in support of the education, consultation, and research mission to equip Aerospace Medicine Airmen with the skills and knowledge for healthcare delivery in diverse environments. One overarching goal was to create and house a more streamlined and focused collection to modify and adapt the 13,000 square-foot space with additional areas for student and faculty use and collaboration. The library offers traditional library services such as literature searching and interlibrary loan.
I started serving as a Doody’s Core Titles Librarian Selector because I was very excited to engage regularly with both the people and the titles that have a direct impact on our profession as well as within the practice of medicine and the health sciences; without it, we are less equipped to serve such a direct need that exists.