Hi, my name is Gina Millsap and I’m the executive director of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. I’ve been in the library biz for 34 years and I can honestly say I look forward to going to work every day, and I learn something new, sometimes several new things, every day. I’m incredibly lucky to have a job I love, colleagues I respect and like a lot and a passion for what I do.
This is my first post and I think it’s apt that it’s about my recent experience as a library customer. As the guy on the Hair Club for Men commercial says, “I’m not just the president, I’m a client.” Well, me too, but for the Library, not Hair Club for Men.
I found out a few weeks ago that I needed a hysterectomy, not an unusual situation for a woman in her mid-50s. After I got over the initial bit of shock, I went into librarian mode —- get information, get it now! The first place I went was the Health Information Neighborhood here at the Library. Since I still like to think of myself as a reasonably proficient reference librarian, I did my own search first and found several books including, The Complete Guide to Hysterectomy: a Gynecologist’s Advice on Your Choices Before, During and After Surgery, Including Alternatives to Hysterectomy by Dr. Lauren Streicher (616.1453/STR) and The Hysterectomy Hoax; the Truth about Why Hysterectomies Are Unnecessary and How to Avoid Them by Stanley West (616.1453/WES)
My husband and I read these together and discussed them. They were enormously helpful in making decisions.
I also visited the library’s website, called the Digital Branch. There’s a Health and Wellness section including online resources the Library subscribes to like Consumer Health Complete with information ranging from very technical evidence-based reports to reference books, pamphlets, even videos!
After conducting my own search, I consulted with Scarlett Fisher-Herreman, the librarian in charge of the Health Information Neighborhood and our resident consumer health specialist. She recommended several other sources including a website, HysterSisters, which offers not only a wealth of information, but also women sharing their experiences and advice and a network of support.
Tip: Always check with a librarian. You’ll be amazed what a difference a trained information professional can make in what information you find, how quickly you find it and the options s/he will give you.
So it’s been a couple of weeks, and I’m doing great. I’m working from home and as a matter of fact, I wrote this post exactly a week after my surgery. And remember your library the next time you have a question or concern about your or a loved one’s health.
I’d really like to hear your experiences and thoughts about the Library. You have an open invitation to post to my blog. Let’s get to know each other.
Here’s a question to get us started. What have you discovered at the library that’s made a difference in your life?