About HSLS Librarians: Part 1

To become a librarian requires earning a master’s degree in library or information sciences. Beyond that, librarians may have a variety of educational or professional degrees or experiences. This first part of a two-part series describes how the varied backgrounds of our librarians help them make valuable contributions to HSLS services and resources and to the broader community here at Pitt.

Michele Klein-Fedyshin, MSLS, BSN, RN, AHIP, FMLA
The knowledge I gained in my nursing coursework, clinical rotations, and professional nursing experience has been put to practical use. My genetics class informed my later work on a systematic review on serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor tolerability; microbiology class gave me the background to help in the development of clinical practice guidelines for the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and my chemistry class provided the foundation to answer a question on “osmolality of the femoral vein” for a TPN nurse.

Along with my nursing training, my background as a lifeguard kicked in when an individual collapsed in front of me at the University Club Fitness Center. Working with other people, I detected asystole, administered CPR, used an AED, and saved the life of a Pitt colleague. Sometimes I feel that all my learning was leading up to that moment.

Rachel Suppok, MLIS
Before earning my master’s degree in library and information science, I majored in neuroscience in college and worked as a medical scribe at a bariatric and general surgery office. My bachelor’s degree in neuroscience gave me knowledge of biology and psychology, as well as a chance to learn how scientists work. My time as a medical scribe gave me an inside peek at provider‐patient interactions, as well as a crash course in medical terminology and the ICD‐10! All of these experiences gave me knowledge that I use today as a health sciences librarian.

Malgorzata (Gosia) Fort, MLIS, Doctor of Humanities
I earned a combined MLS/MLIS and a doctorate (Doctor of Humanities) which included a strong emphasis on the history of the book and printing. This is really handy when I am taking care of our rare book collections – it supports my interest in the book as a material object and allows me to appreciate our historical collection even though I have no medical background.

Another helpful aspect of my background is my knack for languages. When I was a cataloger, I was able to catalog books in multiple languages, because I knew languages from the three basic European groups: Slavic languages (Polish, Russian), Romance languages (Latin, French, Spanish), and Germanic languages (English, German). Now I am diving into Korean, so maybe in a year or two I can boast that I know another language and alphabet! My language skills are helpful because the rare book collection is a multilingual collection. It also means that when I’m researching books to discuss in the HSLS Update column “Treasures from the Rare Book Room,” I don’t need to limit myself to English-language resources and can feature books for which there is no English-language literature, as was the case with my March column!