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Himmelfarb Headlines - November / December 2021

Anne Linton Retires After 37 Years of Service

Anne Linton's Retirement


Anne Linton will retire in January of 2022, marking the end of an extraordinary career at Himmelfarb Library that began in 1984. Anne first joined Himmelfarb’s Reference Department, assuming the responsibility of coordinating online search services for faculty, staff, and students. In 1990, she accepted the position of Associate Director, Information, Instruction, and Media Services. In this capacity, Anne oversaw the operations of a number of library departments and services and, in conjunction with the Department of Computer Medicine, established a computer literacy curriculum for medical students. In 1998, Anne became Library Director, a position she has held for nearly 25 years.

Faculty Appointments

Throughout her Himmelfarb career, Anne has received faculty appointments from a number of SMHS departments, as well as from GW’s School of Nursing. Notably, she has taught courses on Translational Health Sciences, Informatics in Healthcare, and Using Media for Health Information. She has continuously served on the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science at Catholic University since 1986.

Anne has played a vital role in numerous regional and national library associations and medical societies. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association selected her as the recipient of its 2008 MAC Librarian of the Year Award. She was selected for participation in the Master Teacher and Leadership Development Program at the GW SMHS, and for membership in the Academy of Health Information Professionals at the rank of Distinguished.

Anne has made significant contributions to the scholarly literature of health sciences librarianship, including the 2016 Medical Reference Services Quarterly publication of her master’s thesis: Emerging Roles for Librarians in the Medical School Curriculum and the Impact on Professional Identity.

Himmelfarb Library Legacy

One of the capstones of Anne’s career at Himmelfarb Library has been the conversion of the journal collection from print format to electronic. Incoming Interim Library Director Laura Abate remembers, “This transition touched every staff member as we learned to license and acquire, organize, support user access, share, and use these resources to support our users' education, research and clinical practice.” The undertaking freed students and clinicians to access journal articles from wherever they were working or studying. The removal of the print journal collection from the second floor resulted in an increase in much needed student study space. Laura Abate adds, “When I think back on the library when I started in 1999 in which we had a floor of books, a floor of journals, and a few databases - and compare it to our holdings today everything is different - except trying to make sure the users have access to the information that they need to succeed. I think keeping our users at the center of all this change is another of Anne's many accomplishments.”

Another capstone was the expansion of library resources and services to accommodate Himmelfarb’s newer affiliates: The Milken Institute School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. Anne remembers: “Suddenly, we had to know which resources were key for nursing and public health learning and research. We discovered quickly that quantitative statistical software had to be supplemented with qualitative software in our labs. We had to master the art of the systematic and scoping review immediately.”

During her tenure, Anne established an active role for librarians in educating medical students. She states, “I worked with faculty curriculum leaders to integrate librarians more fully into the curriculum so that students could learn about high quality information resources and evidence-based medicine search skills while in the classroom.”

Anne also oversaw an assessment of the library’s collection to learn how Himmelfarb could enhance its support of the GW research community. Meetings with and surveys of basic sciences faculty and departmental chairs led to the acquisition of major, research-oriented journals and databases. JoLinda Thompson, Systems Librarian, adds, “A focus on research support resulted in the implementation of the Health Sciences Research Commons, and creation of Scholarly Publishing and Research Support librarian positions.”

Anne also expanded the library’s role in clinical departments. Embedded and liaison librarians teach residents and faculty about relevant resources.

Leadership Legacy

Himmelfarb staff reveal the more personal aspects of Anne’s legacy. So many have pointed to Anne’s advocacy of her staff and of their input. Serials and Systems Librarian Ruth Bueter shares, “One of my favorite things about Anne's leadership has been her willingness to support staff ideas. Rather than saying ‘we've always done it this way,’ new ideas are encouraged and valued, and staff are given the opportunity to spearhead projects they suggest. Being heard and valued by leadership is priceless!”

Anne has always prioritized staff development. Laura Abate describes it this way: “She actively encourages staff to expand their skills and try new areas. Anne was able to see a bigger picture for many of us that we couldn't necessarily see for ourselves and encouraged us to collaborate on a new type of project or committee, learn a new piece of software, or develop a new skill, class, or both!”

Anne’s unwavering care for the well-being of her staff is expressed by Ruth Bueter: “I have valued her commitment to encouraging a work life balance among Himmelfarb staff. It's a fantastic thing to not feel guilty for taking time off or not answering emails 24 hours a day!” In addressing the time surrounding COVID, Web Services Librarian Brian McDonald shares, “I always knew we could count on [Anne] to put people first in the decisions [she] made as [she] guided us through the uncertainties of the pandemic and unexpected staffing changes.”

We at Himmelfarb wish Anne all the best in this new chapter of her life. And we will never forget her. JoLinda Thompson’s words speak for all of us: “I can’t imagine Himmelfarb Library without Anne Linton.”


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