FAU Health Science Librarians

Medical and Health Sciences Collection & User Services

Florida Atlantic University Medical and Health Sciences Collection & User Services Librarians

I conducted an informational interview with the two Health Science Librarians at the Florida Atlantic University Library. They are responsible for the Medical and Health Sciences Collections and User Services associated with the Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine. Amanda Chiplock is the Senior Medical Librarian. Sarah Harper is the Medical Liason and Outreach Librarian.


Amanda and Sarah serve the students in the College of Medicine as well as faculty, affiliate faculty, and practitioners in the community. The majority of their time is divided between providing research assistance and developing curriculum for the College of Medicine. The librarians are heavily involved in the development of curriculum for the College of Medicine as Florida Atlantic University is focused on evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine is an approach to medical practice intended to optimize decision-making by emphasizing the use of evidence from well-designed and conducted research. Florida Atlantic University utilizes medical interviewing and physical examination by using this hypothesis-driven approach grounded in evidence-based medicine. Amanda and Sarah play a role in the education of the students by teaching 3-4 sessions a semester. Several months goes into their preparation of a well-designed research curriculum that includes problem-based learning and small group activities. They also play a role in providing research to faculty in the development of faculty curriculum.

These two health science librarians are very busy with developing curriculum and teaching. However, there are many other tasks that are a part of their position. They are associated with the main library at Florida Atlantic University but are a department of their own. Therefore, they are solely responsible and heavily involved with both collection development and maintenance for the Medical and Health Sciences Collection. Additionally, they provide reference and research assistance to students, faculty and affiliate faculty. Providing high quality reference service is clearly something that Amanda and Sarah do not take lightly. Amanda describes the most important part of providing high quality reference service as timeliness. The librarian team attempts to respond to all requests within 24 hours. If they are not able to respond to the request right away, they will ensure that the patron receives a timely reply and timeframe for assistance. They have developed a user friendly website that contains links to popular medical databases and other research tools. Amanda revamped this website when she joined Florida Atlantic University in November 2014. The website also contains information for general library services, Medical LibGuides, and LibGuides relating to the Curriculum at the College of Medicine.

Reference & FAQ

The librarians do not have a reference material section available because most of the materials are online and readily available. The first resource that they recommend or utilize is PubMed. If the research required is more extensive, they will turn to a more extensive search in other medical databases. Their users questions are typically very focused. However, the most frequently asked question for the librarians is, “How do I log in from home?” Sarah recently added a link on the website to allow easy access to the Off Campus Connect.


Amanda and Sarah also took the time to provide helpful advice for an aspiring librarian. They suggest volunteering or interning at a library to gain experience. Amanda recommended joining a medical librarianship group or attending a conference. Sarah recommended finding a niche within librarianship or thinking outside the box. She has an expertise in educational technologies that has allowed her to utilize her degree in varying positions. She has also held positions as a Web Services Librarian and an Information Experience Architect that included developing websites. Lastly, Amanda recommended checking out #medplus on Twitter and joining the weekly Twitter chat.


The Medical and Health Sciences Collections and User Services website can be accessed at the following link: http://www.library.fau.edu/med/