Spotlight On
  SIS Alumna M.J. Tooey
  photo of M.J. TooeyJanuary 2004 was momentous for SIS alumna M.J. Tooey MLS, AHIP. On January 1 she was tapped to become the Executive Director of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) at the University of Maryland in Baltimore . And then, in mid January, M.J. was elected to serve as President of the Medical Library Association (MLA) from 2005 to 2006. Of this latest honor University of Maryland , Baltimore President David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil. said, "M.J. Tooey continues to be recognized on both a local and national level as someone who demonstrates a strong commitment to academic research, education, and service."

M.J. gives much of the credit for her successes today to her Pitt education and especially to her advisor Professor Allen Kent, now retired, who stressed the need to bring information, people, and technology together. At Pitt, she learned that service is the hallmark of a great library, "Professor Kent was super flexible with his time, demonstrating that service was at very the heart of what we were learning," recalls M.J. Her career spanned teaching and school library jobs in public schools in Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs and at Clarion State College (now Clarion University of Pennsylvania) before she became a medical librarian at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, and later, at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. She soon moved to HS/HSL and in the 18 years of her tenure, M.J. has followed a service oriented philosophy of building relationships with clinicians, students, and the general public which has helped to make HS/HSL a trusted information partner.

When she started at HS/HSL in 1986, as the lead trainer for the Information Management Education Program she reached out to reference librarians serving the University of Maryland health sciences and hospital who were just starting to use networked computers. Those reference librarians would then train faculty and students on the use of the then new electronic resources. "Things have really evolved," says M.J., "back in those days we had just a few end user services, and the connections were over phone lines at 300 baud!" Today M.J. sees information professionals sifting through a deluge of information to deliver meaningful services. A rapidly changing academic publishing environment, new non-published forms of dissemination of research, and web searching tools are all part of the challenge. "How do you evaluate information?" asks M.J. When a person searches for 'heart attack' and Google returns approximately 5,600,000 results, "it's librarians that help people select good health information, after all, patient knowledge about disease helps the care process."

M.J. maintains close ties to SIS through her former instructor Associate Professor Ellen Detlefsen. M.J. says Ellen has become her mentor and friend and that the two are sure to enjoy seeing each other at professional conferences a couple of times each year.