Medical Librarianship

What is Medical Librarianship?
Medical librarians work in a variety of settings, from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to academic, hospital, public/consumer settings. While useful, no specific training or background in the health sciences is needed.

The Medical Library Association website offers more information and brochures about “what it takes” to be a medical librarian.

Classes at UNC
While there is no specific “medical librarianship” track at UNC, SILS students may consider obtaining a certificate in bionformatics or interdisciplinary health communication. Additionally, there are several courses that would be beneficial to those interested in medical librarianship. Consider courses not only in SILS, but other departments, such as the School of Public Health. The following is a list of selected classes and is not meant to be comprehensive.

INLS 515: Consumer Health Information
INLS 705: Health Sciences Information
INLS 706: Bioinformatics Research Review
INLS 748: Health Sciences Environment
INLS 890: Evidence-based Medicine (online, special topic class taught by Schardt/Myatt)
INLS 890: Informed Decision Making for Cancer Care Quality (special topic class taught by Marshall)

Internships, Jobs, and Volunteer Opportunities
Working is a great way to gain experience in the medical library setting. Some of these organizations offer paid or volunteer work opportunities. Signing up for a field experience through SILS also allows students the opportunity to gain experience for class credit.

UNC-CH Health Sciences Library
The Health Sciences Library hires graduate assistants and also offers students opportunities to do projects through field experiences. Contact Kate McGraw ( or Julia Shaw-Kokot (

Duke University Medical Center Library
The Duke University Medical Center Library Internship Program provides one-year employment appointments for students in library and information science graduate schools and recent graduates. For more information, see

UNC Hospitals
Opportunities in consumer health libraries, such as the Women’s Health Resource Center. Contact Mary Quezada (

EPA/NIEHS Internship
While not specifically health sciences focused, this SILS/EPA internship offers students experience with science librarianship at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Post-Graduate Opportunities
These are just a few of the post-graduate internship and fellowship opportunities in medical librarianship.

NLM Associates Fellowship
Associates receive training and work at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md. An optional second-year is offered for Associates to work at a medical library in the US.

Other NLM Fellowships
The National Library of Medicine also offers fellowship in medical informatics and for those interested in becoming “Informationists”.

Johns Hopkins Health Care Informatics Fellowship
Johns Hopkins offers a two year fellowship for those interested in health care informatics.

Vanderbilt Clinical Librarianship Internship/Fellowship
Interns are trained to work as a librarian in a clinical setting at Vanderbilt University’s medical library and hospital.

US Army Librarianship Program
The US Army offers a civilian training program in technical, academic, medical, and general libraries.

MLES- Medical Library Education Section
A branch of the Medical Library Association website, this site offers a listing of fellowships and internships.

Professional Organizations
With inexpensive student rates, joining one or more professional organization is a great way to learn more about and get involved in the field. Many of these professional organizations hold national conferences and offer continuing education courses. These provide a great opportunity to meet others in the field as well as learn about current research and practices done at libraries across the nation.

MLA- Medical Library Assocation
The 2004 conference will be located in Washington DC.
The MLA offers resources and scholarships for students, and has a student listserv as well as a new Virtual Student Chapter.

SLA- Special Libraries Association

MAC- Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the MLA

ANCHASL- Association of North Carolina Health and Science Libraries
ANCHASL often offers seminars and CE courses at their annual meetings.

Medical and science librarianship is under the umbrella of students UNC-SLA serves. UNC-SLA has held panel discussions and other presentations on medical librarianship. Membership is free, but students are encouraged to join the national SLA organization.

Further Reading
Journal of the Medical Library Association


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