Staff Spotlight - Introducing Thomas Harrod, Reference and Instructional Librarian
In this issue we are talking with Thomas Harrod, Reference and Instructional Librarian, about his almost ten years at Himmelfarb.
Tell us about your current position and what you do?
I’m a Reference & Instruction librarian at the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library. In that position, I provide reference assistance to patrons - both in person and online. I’m also involved in instruction, including teaching presentation skills to med students and being embedded in online nursing classes. There’s a lot of variety in what I do and no two days ever look the same, which really makes my job enjoyable.
How has your job at Himmelfarb changed over the years?
I think some of the biggest changes have been in the types of services we’ve provided. For instance, one thing that’s become far more common in recent years is assisting students and faculty who are doing systematic reviews. That has been a good change as it’s allowed us to redefine our role with the patrons we serve and really make good use of our unique skills and training. I feel like there’s always change as we’re always looking for new ways to support old and new programs in our departments.
What led you to your career as a medical librarian?
Prior to being a librarian, I pursued a career in basic science research. Specifically I was a graduate student in a lab studying immunology. Through this experience I got a good sense of the research process and environment - I think this has helped me to connect with students and faculty as most of them have a scientific mindset and/or come from a science background.
What’s been your most memorable moment at Himmelfarb/GW?
Hmm, I don’t know if I can think of a particular moment that stands out above the rest. But there have been a lot of good moments. Helping a student identify a needed resource after they’ve spent hours searching in vain. Or the longer-term satisfaction of being part of a systematic review project and seeing it come to fruition over a course of months or even years.
What do you like to do in your time away from work?
Since I got engaged last Spring, a lot of my time has been devoted to wedding planning :-) But other than that, I like playing tennis - I just got into that last year and while I’m still pretty poor at it, it’s a fun way to get some exercise. I also like to read and listen to true crime podcasts during my long commute to Foggy Bottom. Besides that, I’m pretty involved in the church that I attend, so that’s something that helps keep me busy each week.