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Meet Librarian Bridget Gunn - Health Science is her specialty, not the latest mystery novel

April 18, 2017

Not many people would expect to find a full-service library in their hospital and are often surprised to learn that there is one right here at Baystate Medical Center.

In fact, it’s been home for nearly three years to Information and Knowledge Services Librarian Bridget Gunn, who has “always had a love for books and tracking down information.”

But you won’t find her checking out books for readers requesting James Patterson’s latest novel or the Dalai Lama’s latest musings. What the library does have, however, are thousands of medical textbooks and journals, both print and electronic, and dozens of article databases and point-of-care tools.

“I often assist doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals at the hospital, who are looking for scholarly articles or books to use for research. It might be a doctor or nurse, for example, looking for information about a rare illness affecting one of their patients. Or, I might be helping one of Baystate’s many medical residents or students in their educational needs. Then, there are clinical and non-clinical staff who are conducting their own research and looking for studies as part of their literature review,” said Bridget, who developed a love for the library sciences when doing her own research as part of her Master of Science degree at UMass-Amherst.

Staying current in their field

“Our clinical staff and others here at Baystate are always looking to learn something new or stay current in their field, and we’re happy to help them with those needs,” she added.

Bridget’s knowledge and willingness to help those who come through the library’s doors was recognized last year by the nursing staff who presented her with the Non-Clinical Collaboration Award at the 2016 Nurses Week Gala Reception.

“It was a great honor to receive this award and I was thrilled that the nursing staff recognized my willingness and ability to help them with their information needs,” she said.

You may wonder how many people actually use the medical library every day.

Hundreds seek assistance each day

We have at least a couple hundred people who come to the library in the Chestnut Building each day to request our help, use the computers, or just study quietly. But, we have hundreds more across Baystate Health that call or email us and who visit our website and access our digital resources remotely,” Bridget said.

Like any librarian, Bridget is a big reader. She doesn’t have a particular author she follows, but she does have a few favorite genres.

“I’m a big fan of historical fiction and mystery novels. Recently, I’ve branched out into sci-fi and even some non-fiction. I like to mix it up. For instance, I just finished ‘The Girl with All the Gifts,’ an apocalyptic dystopian novel, and I’m now reading ‘No Ordinary Time,’ a biography about the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II,” she said.

Originally from Connecticut, Bridget has been living in South Hadley since 2002. She is married, has two miniature schnauzers, and during her free time likes to stay active.

Walking the dogs

“I love taking walks with the dogs, running, and participating in just about any sport. In fact, I started playing ice hockey a few years ago in Greenfield. I thought that I was in good shape, but quickly learned the difference between being in shape and being in ‘hockey shape,’” she said.

Bridget noted she has an upcoming trip that she is excited about taking.

“In May, I am going to the Medical Library Association Conference in Seattle. I have never been to the Pacific Northwest, so I am pretty excited. I will be presenting a poster at the conference, and I hope to come back with new ideas to make our library services even better for our users,” she said.