Meet Ruth Bueter, Serials and Systems Librarian

Stephen Bryant, Evening/Weekend Circulation SupervisorHimmelfarb Library continues this feature in our newsletter that lets us become better acquainted with our friends and colleagues at the Himmelfarb Library. In this issue we learn more about Ruth Bueter, Serials and Systems Librarian.

Where are you from and what brought you to GW?
I grew up in a small farm town in Michigan along the Michigan and Ohio border. I went to college for my Bachelors in Ohio where I studied a combination of Environmental Science and Parks and Recreation. After college, I moved around a lot and worked a lot of seasonal jobs doing historical interpretation and teaching environmental science. I spent time living in Arizona, Ohio, and California before moving to Virginia 9 years ago.

In my late 20s, I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I could find a job in a library since I'd always thought that would a great career. My first library job was at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia working with Circulation and Course Reserves. I decided I enjoyed it enough to pursue my Master's in Library Science.

After I got my MLS, I accepted a job as Electronic Services Librarian at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg. I spent 3 years there, before moving to downtown DC to be closer to my husband's work. When I got to DC, I started looking for a new job, and actually started working at Himmelfarb last summer helping out at the Reference Desk on a part-time basis. I was thrilled when the Serials & Systems Librarian position opened up and I had the opportunity to come aboard full-time!

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love working with Excel, and there are many aspects of my job that let me work with Excel, so I love that I get to spend so much time in that program. I also really enjoy all of the analysis that I need to do with the journal collection. I love looking at usage statistics and impact factors and budgets and figuring out which journals are giving us the most bang for our buck. I also enjoy working with the great people here. Our staff is really great, and they are always happy to answer my questions, regardless of how silly they may be.

What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been just getting familiar with the collection in general. Figuring out which journals we get from which vendors. Figuring out which journals we buy individually, and which are part of larger packages. Also, figuring out which journals we buy on our own, and which we buy with other libraries (such as Gelman or Burns). There are a lot of details and things aren't always straight forward. I'm sure things will become clearer the longer I work with the collection, but there are some days when I feel like I'm solving a mystery. And that makes it sort of fun.

What led you to a career as a medical librarian?
I met Anne Linton at a résumé review event and asked her for suggestions about how to transfer from a community college library to a four year college library. She suggested looking at medical libraries due to my experience working with nursing students, which was not an option I had considered. When I moved to DC, I contacted Anne and ended up interviewing for a part-time reference librarian position at Himmelfarb. After six months working in this position, the Serials and Systems Librarian position became available and it seemed like something I would enjoy, so I applied and was able to stay at Himmelfarb full-time.

What do you like to do in your time away from work?
I love to read. I'm normally reading two books at any given time (normally one paper book, and listening to an audio book). I've been on a mission to catch up on some classic literature that I haven't read yet, so I've been slowly checking some classics off of my to-read list. I enjoy fiction of all sorts. Some of my favorite authors are Milan Kundera, Michael Cunningham, Nick Hornby, and Kurt Vonnegut. I also enjoy non-fiction, and read a lot about historical events, environmental issues, and food related books. I also love being outdoors. I like hiking, camping, and biking (in a casual way…nothing serious). I love to travel and see new places. I try to visit national parks whenever I get a chance. So far, I've been to about 75 National Park Service sites, and look forward to visiting more. I also really enjoy photography.

Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library ◊ The George Washington University ◊ 2300 Eye St., NW, Washington, DC 20037 ◊ Phone: (202) 994-2850