May 4, 2016

Member Spotlight: Jan Orick

Every month, we would like to take a moment to learn more about a fellow librarian and SC/MLA member. For May, we would like you to meet Jan, someone you have likely already met or at least heard of (I'll give you a hint: she's the current Chapter Chair) but who you may not know all that well. If you have secretly always wanted to know more about her earliest, earliest days as a librarian or what she does on her days off, this is your chance! 

Jan and her gardening sidekick, Savannah
Name: Jan Orick

SC/MLA Member Since: 1995

Officer/Committee Positions: I have served as member and then Chair of the SC Hospital Libraries Committee; Member and then Chair of Professional Development, AHIP Liaison; Member of the Nominating Committee, Local Arrangements Committee (twice!) Program Chair/Chair Elect; and this year I am serving as the Chapter Chair

First Professional Position: Reference Librarian Lafayette Public Library, Lafayette, LA

Current Position: Director, Biomedical Library St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Education: BA (University of Memphis) MLIS (Louisiana State University)

Favorite website, blog, or twitter feed: About the only thing I follow regularly is Retraction Watch. I am very interested in scholarly publication process.

How did you become interested in medical librarianship? Honestly, when I moved back to Memphis the job at Methodist Hospital was open because the librarian had just retired. I applied and told them I could apply my skills as a law librarian to the work with the doctors and residents at the hospital. I just needed to learn the terminology. And I got the job!  Knowing nothing about medical libraries or STM resources except the STM resources class I took in Library School. Thank you Dr Paskoff!

What do you love most about your job? My job today is nothing like the job I accepted in 1993, but I still love the constant challenges that arise and providing resources and information to move my institution forward in support of our mission.

What has been your biggest professional challenge? My most recent challenge has been the move out of the basement into a new library. We had lots of plans for what we would do when people came to the library again, but the new space and location is proving challenging. We are finding that people are not coming to us so we are developing new ways to market our services and we are going to them. The move from print to online has created an unforeseen challenge for our library. The patrons don’t seem to see the library as a place anymore. They recognize that the library provides the online access and services, but they don’t have a connection to the library as a place to go to get the services. They can get everything from wherever they are now. We have done our jobs too well.  It makes me sad, but I continue to work on ways to re-connect them to us.

What do you do to recover from a long work week? In the summer, I head for my pool. I am monitoring the water temperature daily right now! I have also recently taken up gardening. And as with anything new I start, I am reading and learning as much as I can about plants.

Anything our readers might find surprising about you? I am an avid fan of motor sports, Formula One in particular. My favorite team is Ferrari! I also like to watch the Tour de France in the summer.

If you were suffering from amnesia, what five songs would you remember?
  1. Lips Like Sugar (Echo & the Bunnymen)
  2. Don’t Change (INXS)
  3. Friday I’m in Love (The Cure)
  4. Don’t Go Back to Rockville (REM)
  5. Wall of Death and 1952 Vincent Black Lightening (Richard Thompson)
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? After I visited my first public library, I started “playing library” at home. Cataloging my collection of books and filing the index cards in a card catalog (recipe box). I had a stamp so I could check out books to myself. I don’t think I charged myself fines!

Many thanks to Jan! If you know any other amazing SC/MLA members who should be featured in this segment (or if you want to prank your SC/MLA peers by volunteering them for things as a surprise), please post in the comments below or send an email to 

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