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NAHSL: NAHSL Narratives: Reimagined

nahsl narratives reimagined

Launched in 2016, NAHSL Narratives was a series of videotaped oral histories and personal testimonies from members of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries designed to inspire, connect, and ensure our viability in a complex health environment.

Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of NAHSL Narratives: Reimagined, a revitalized version of the series that will showcase interviews with students, retirees, and active information professionals in the health sciences. We hope that you enjoy learning more about the work that connects us all and engage with our featured members in a meaningful way.

Enjoy hearing from an HSLAP 2023 participant!

Sabrina Brown

Photo Credit: Rebecca Chase

Knowledge Services Specialist,
Education Services Medical Library, MaineHealth


What program are you enrolled in? When are you expecting to graduate?
I’m enrolled at Simmons University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), to receive my MLIS, with an Information Science & Technology Concentration. This concentration emphasizes user research, fundamental programming knowledge, and socio-technical competency. One of my favorite projects so far has been working with fellow NAHSL member Meagan Halica in conducting usability testing of Moodle. We’re both remote students, so we’re hopeful that our research can improve that learning experience at SLIS before we graduate this May!  

What got you interested in Health Sciences Librarianship? 

I first started working in libraries as a volunteer, then intern, at my local high school. I also worked as a library assistant during my undergraduate program. So, I was certain I wanted to go to library school and get my MLIS. Also, during my undergrad, I had the opportunity to work with a physicist to create a database in Zotero of scientific publications. I was studying English at the time, but found I really enjoyed reading scientific literature and supporting the scientific research community. That experience helped me acquire my former role as a services specialist in the science branch libraries at the University of New Hampshire. I was one of two staff members responsible for supporting students, faculty, and staff in the departments of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics, & Computer Science. So, when I saw that there was an apprenticeship being offered through the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, I took it as an opportunity to improve my experiences in science librarianship in general. It wasn’t until I was in the program that I realized Health Sciences librarianship was the specialty I wanted to frame my career around. Through the HSLAP program, I’ve discovered that I find medicine incredibly interesting, and I appreciate that the research field is currently experiencing rapid development, specifically around publishing and open access.

What is one thing that surprised you about Health Sciences Librarianship?

How engaging and welcoming the community is. I couldn’t get over the number of people just in attendance virtually at the annual NAHSL conference this year. Everyone is very active in the community, either through social media, publishing, mentoring, or their own professional development. Health Sciences is arguably an area of librarianship with smaller physical numbers, but the community feels incredibly vibrant. It doesn’t seem to matter how advanced people become, I still see them seeking out new learning opportunities and encouraging newcomers to do the same.

How has your experience with HSLAP changed your approach to your practice?

Since taking part in HSLAP, I’ve been tailoring my coursework and academic projects around topics I was introduced to during the program. I’m currently working on an annotated bibliography of resources on critical librarianship practices, and I just completed two collection evaluations; one was focused on career resources for medical students and the other was focused on graphic medicine. It was exciting to see the poster on Graphic Medicine Collection development by Kelli Kauffroath, Laura Haines, and Alice Stokes at the University of Vermont during the NAHSL Conference. It allowed me to evaluate how well my library school programming had prepared me for a real evaluation, and the answer is "great "!

Additionally, I’ve been seeking additional professional opportunities to take part in open science projects, continuing education related to health sciences or medical librarianship, or new work experiences. I’m also putting more emphasis on involvement in professional organizations and just joined the 2024 NAHSL conference planning committee!

If I wasn't a librarian, I would be ...

A natural sciences researcher. I’d have to get my bachelor’s in biology or an equivalent area first, but then I’d enjoy doing a combination of field and lab work studying insects, forest ecology, or North American birds. I try to fuel these interests as best I can outside of work and school. In the past year I’ve volunteered to check trail cameras with UNH graduate students, attended the Eastern Apicultural Society Conference and regional beekeeping meetings, attended the Monadnock Natural History Conference, and completed a 12-week birding course. I enjoy that there’s a lot of overlapping skills with librarianship, such as data management, attention to detail, project planning, scholarly communication/publishing, and research practice! 

Any unusual or interesting stories from your time in library school so far?

The right response was "This is more a snippet of advice than a story, but I once met a librarian who said that “acting as if you will learn everything you need to be successful in your career solely through your LIS program will only serve to hinder your professional development”. Counterintuitive thinking is important. Every new LIS student I meet now, I recommend that they share what they don’t know, and advertise it professionally. Telling colleagues, professors, or potential advisors, “I’m looking to learn about” or “I’m hoping to develop skills in” can open so many doors. This is a field that values continuous learning and mentorship, so it is okay to ask questions and not have all of the answers yet.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I spend time with friends and family, catch up on my TBR list, and try new things! I’ve been learning a lot about cars this year, going to car shows, track days, and watching F1. 

Share something about yourself that most people may not know.
I just moved to Massachusetts!

Sally Gore

Sally Gore

Manager of Research and Scholarly Communication Services,
Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School


What is your role at your institution? Where did you earn your MLS/advanced degree? How did you find yourself in Health Sciences Librarianship? Thoughts on the future of Health Sciences Librarianship? What excites you about the future of Health Sciences Librarianship?

My name is Sally Gore and I manage the Research & Scholarly Communication Services department at the Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. I earned my MS LIS from Syracuse University in 2004, got hired to work at the LSL a couple months later, and started my career here on January 3, 2005. I’ve stayed put – at least at the Medical School – ever since. I had a varied career before landing in health sciences librarianship. I majored in Philosophy, went to seminary, earned a Divinity degree, worked in churches and social services settings for a number of years, did a bunch of other odd jobs simultaneously and on their own, went back to school and earned a couple of degrees in Exercise Physiology, and then found myself drawn to library school.


When it came time to do an internship for my degree, I really wanted to be a news librarian and so I reached out to the librarian at the Portland Press Herald (Maine) at the time and she gave me some good advice – “Don’t go down this track.” She saw the end of newspaper libraries (heck, even newspapers) coming fast and didn’t want me to pursue something that would be a dead end. I’d done an internship in cardiac rehab (for one of those exercise physiology degrees) at Maine Medical Center and so I sought out the library director there and asked if I could intern with her and her staff. Janet Cowen, a longstanding and well-admired NAHSL member, took me in and I’ve not left the health sciences librarian world since.


As one who works in the arena of scholarly communications, the world of Open Science that is coming into its own right now is one of the most exciting things about our roles as health science librarians. Navigating a new landscape for publishing, transparency, and sharing of all research outputs gives those of us with knowledge and skills so many opportunities to engage in interesting, fulfilling, and valuable work. From managing tools and developing processes to raising awareness and teaching, we are in perfect positions to help our students, faculty, clinicians, and biomedical researchers make their work accessible and sharable. I tell our students coming into our graduate school of biomedical sciences that they are entering SUCH and exciting world and I’m just as excited to be part of it with them.

If I wasn't a librarian, I would be ... 

Given that I did a lot of different things before I became a librarian, one might think it’s a stretch to think I’d still want to be anything else, BUT that’s not true. If I wasn’t a librarian or an exercise physiologist or a clergyperson... if I was starting all over again, clean slate, I would be a sportswriter. I think that if I had known any female sportswriters when I was growing up, if I’d seen any women doing such, I would have pursued such a career. I LOVE sports. Everything about them (except the extreme, obscene, greed-fest that our major sports – pro and college – have become). I love to watch games. I love to watch the talking heads on ESPN. I love to read the sports pages. I could have lived very happily in that world. Kind of like that news librarian job I considered.

Any unusual or interesting stories from your career?

I can’t think of any other than it’s been a career filled with interesting people.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I do all kinds of stuff outside of work. I play a bunch of instruments and occasionally perform in public, I host a radio show on my local community radio station, I love to walk my dog, I like to watch sports (of course), I binge watch way too much television – particularly police procedurals, and I enjoy hanging out at my local brewery, chatting with the staff and other regulars. And since COVID, I have found a deep love of cooking, something that I could always do, but never enjoyed before I had some time to get into it. And now it’s becoming a passion. Such fun!

Share something about yourself that most people may not know.

I am a very good whistler.

Want to be a part of NAHSL Narratives?