FY 20 Annual Report

The Health Sciences Library System

About HSLS

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Who We Are

The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) at the University of Pittsburgh offers a wide array of research and information services, educational opportunities, and resources in print and electronic format to faculty, students, and researchers in the Schools of the Health Sciences. 

Our Mission


Through our innovative services, high-quality resources, collaborative spaces, expertise, and partnerships, we advance learning, teaching, research, and service across the health sciences community at the University of Pittsburgh. While maintaining our foundational commitment to excellence, we respond to the changing health sciences and information environments.

-HSLS Strategic Plan, 2019-2023  quote

Our Home

Falk Library is our physical home, with spaces and technology for study, learning, research, and collaboration.   

Falk Library provides a number of study spaces, computers, and printing services; two service desks; instructional and meeting space; and resources on-hand in the library. 

Our website serves as the primary gateway to our services and resources.

Our Team

Our team is composed of 31 faculty librarians and 29 paraprofessional staff, led by director Barbara Epstein.

Faculty librarians support instruction, research, and scholarship through innovative programs that adapt to the changing needs of an active research and learning community, including Liaisons Librarians, Data Services, Advanced Literature Searching, and Molecular Biology Information Services.

HSLS staff support operations through front-line service, on-site technology support, document delivery services, web and marketing development, digital resource advancement, and administrative support.

Faculty librarians and staff working in programs funded by the National Library of Medicine are integrated into HSLS as full University of Pittsburgh employees.

Health Sciences Library System Professional Development

At HSLS, we strive to recruit and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce that actively supports collaboration, lifelong learning, and service to the profession and the community.

HSLS New Hires

  • *Kelsey Cowles, MLIS, NNLM MAR Academic Coordinator 

  • Mady Engel, Administrative Specialist 

  • Stephen Gabrielson, MSLIS, Research and Instruction Librarian

  • Holly Hill, Program Manager for UPMC Services

  • Marissa Spade, Marketing and Web Specialist 

  • Rachel Suppok, MLIS, Research and Instruction Librarian

  • *Tess Wilson, MFA, MLIS, NNLM MAR Community Engagement Coordinator

  • Francesca Yates, MLIS, Research and Instruction Librarian 

HSLS Staff & Faculty Promotions

  • *Michael Balkenhol, MLIS, Faculty Librarian II 

  • *Michelle Burda, MLS, Faculty Librarian III 

  • Misti Kane, MLIS, Metadata and Access Librarian 

  • Mary Lou Klem, PhD, MLIS, Assistant Director of Advanced Information Support and Engagement Initiatives 

  • Rebekah Miller, MLIS, Faculty Librarian II 

  • Julia Reese, Technology Integration Services Administrator 

  • *Erin Seger, MPH, Faculty Librarian II 

  • *Hannah Sinemus, MLIS, NWSO Web Experience Coordinator 

  • Helenmary Sheridan, MLIS, Faculty Librarian II 

  • *Tessa Zindren, NNLM MAR Program Manager 

HSLS Staff & Faculty Retirements

  • Rebecca Abromitis, MLIS, Faculty Librarian Emeritus 

  • James Fischerkeller, Library Specialist 

  • Andrea Ketchum, MLIS, MSIS, Faculty Librarian Emeritus 

  • Rhoda Ludin, Administrative Specialist 

  • Charles Wessel, MLIS, Faculty Librarian Emeritus 

*Funded by UG4 Cooperative Agreement with NLM 

Marketing and Engagement Plan

FY 20 marked the start of HSLS’s new marketing and engagement plan. Led by the new marketing and web specialist, a multi-faceted approach has led to greater understanding of HSLS services and supports strong working relationships with the Office of University Communications, Pitt IT, and other university-wide information providers. 

Targeted, high impact HSLS messaging are deployed across the six Schools of the Health Sciences via digital billboards, school-based newsletters, Pitt publications and calendars, and HSLS social media accounts. The HSLS Update digital newsletter and our weekly classes and events email were also reimaged and redesigned in FY 20. Since their launch, both of these communication products have shown high rates of engagement and increased traffic to our web site and class registration system.