Himmelfarb Headlines - May / June 2021

Staff Spotlight - Introducing Andrea "Andy" Puro, ILL/Document Delivery Specialist

Staff Profile - Andrea

Share your path to Himmelfarb Library.
I found the Himmelfarb library when I was looking to explore further paths into the field of library work. I previously had experience working in public and art based libraries. Himmelfarb stood out to me as a location of learning that not only was focused on the field of medicine, but had a staff that went out of their way to integrate themselves with their users. The passion I saw in the staff, and their desire to see GW students succeed matched my own interest in contributing to the field of medicine, from a library standpoint.

Tell us about your position at Himmelfarb and what you do.
I am the Interlibrary Loan Specialist (ILL)! It is my job to help find medical articles and books for our GW students, staff and faculty members that are not available in our collection. What this means is that when a student places a request for something we do not have, I scour the country to find libraries that have access to said title(s), and make requests so that we can borrow the items. In addition, I also am in charge of lending our own materials to other universities in need throughout the country. On rare occasions, we do provide articles to libraries overseas too!

What do you enjoy most about your position?
Hands down, the one thing that I enjoy the most about ILL is knowing that somewhere, every article that I provide, will give someone the knowledge, the information that is needed to save lives. It may be a small thread in a very complicated field, but I take pride in knowing that our work is ultimately something that guides students towards a path of helping those who suffer from illness or injury.

What’s been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me has been learning to accept that all libraries work in different time zones and have different protocols when it comes to fulfilling Interlibrary Loan requests. As much as I want to provide articles as quickly as I can to our GW users, sometimes it might take a while for me to receive an article or a book. Believe me, sometimes it actually takes 30 libraries to fill one request!

What has been the best part of working at Himmelfarb?
The library staff. Working alongside such a dedicated team not only keeps me inspired to continue to do the best work that I can, but also makes me feel like I am a part of the “Farb” family. The library staff has always been completely genuine and kind, and not afraid to roll up their sleeves to get work done. Everyday they go out of their way to show me what it means to be a part of a team.

What jobs have you held previously that prepared you for your work at Himmelfarb?
The first library based job I held was actually at the university I was attending. At the time I had been focused on pursuing a career in art, but actually fell in love with the supportive research and reference side of library based work! I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to continue in this line of work.

What do you like to do in your time away from work?
Outside of work I can be found writing, drawing, or cleaning my growing mineral collection. I can also be found listening to Dungeons and Dragons based podcasts. If the weather permits, I like to occasionally visit the local park to go for a walk on their two mile loop trail!


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