Skip to Main Content

Himmelfarb Headlines: Staff Profile - A Sit Down with Himmelfarb' Associate Director, Library Operations, Ruth Bueter

Himmelfarb Headlines Banner

Staff Profile - A Sit Down With Himmelfarb’s Associate Director, Library Operations: Ruth Bueter

Staff Profile

Learn more about Himmelfarb Library staff members. In this issue, we learn more about Ruth Bueter, Associate Director of Library Operations.

Congratulations on your promotion to this position! What would you say has been the best part of your experience in transitioning to Associate Director?
Thank you for the kind congratulations! I would say that the best part of moving into the Associate Director position has been gaining a more in-depth understanding of what the folks in the Library Operations department do day-to-day. Having been part of this department since 2016, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what other folks in the department did as part of their jobs. However, taking over as Associate Director has allowed me to take a much deeper dive into what goes into every position. I’ve gotten to know the amazing staff that make up this department even better. It’s helped me have a greater appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into making Himmelfarb operate so smoothly.

Have there been any hurdles in adjusting to the role?
The biggest challenge has just been learning how to manage my time more efficiently. We’re still working on hiring for my previous position, so I’ve been juggling both jobs, which has made things more interesting. I’ve learned to better prioritize tasks while juggling the duties of both jobs. Since this is my first time in a library administration role, I have a lot to learn about the administrative portion of the position, but it’s been exciting to explore new skill sets. I’m very lucky to have Laura Abate and Tom Harrod to answer all of my questions and provide support when I need it!

What is your favorite service that the library has to offer?
It’s difficult to pick just one! I think our 3D printing service is fantastic! I love walking past our 3D printers and hearing them humming away because someone has placed a request. I also really like our systematic review service, in large part because I’m constantly impressed at how our reference librarians can perform complex database searches and find such relevant information to help researchers.

What makes Himmelfarb special to you?
Without a doubt - the staff! Himmelfarb has by far the best work culture I’ve experienced working in libraries, and that is a direct result of the staff who work here. The people who work here are not only some of the most hard-working colleagues I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, but they are also some of the most authentic, kind-hearted, and funny people I know. While I sincerely enjoy the work that I do here, it’s the people I work with that make me look forward to coming to work every day!

What has been your favorite project to work on at Himmelfarb?
I have two favorite projects. I enjoy being a Librarian Instructor in the Clinical Integration Sessions. Because we get to be with the same groups of students for the first year and a half of their medical school journey, I feel like I get to know my students fairly well, which is a change from my previous experience teaching in libraries where I only got to be with a group of students for a single class. I love getting to watch my students learn, grow, and become more confident as they progress through the program.

My second favorite project I’ve worked on has been providing predatory publishing consultations to authors as part of our Journal PreCheck service. I enjoy helping authors evaluate if a journal is scholarly, questionable, or predatory. I’ve seen some wild things while investigating predatory journals, like journals whose physical address shows up in Google Maps as a vacant lot, an apartment building or single-family home in a residential neighborhood, or even a sketchy check cashing business. These are not the types of places from which reputable publishers do business.

Is there any advice that you would give to our medical faculty, students, and staff?
Reach out to the library more. Himmelfarb isn’t just a collection of books, databases, and journals and a place to study. We offer a wide range of services that can help you with your projects. Our librarians and staff have expertise in research, scholarly communications (publishing), technology, and much more. People are often surprised when they find out how much we can do, so reach out to us and see how we can help with your projects!

Do you have any favorite hobbies that you like to do when you have downtime?
I have some fairly stereotypical librarian hobbies like reading and knitting. I also recently started playing the piano again after a 25+ year hiatus, so that’s been great fun and a great outlet for stress relief. Before the pandemic, I took up flying trapeze, and quickly fell in love with it. I’d love to make time to get back to that sometime soon. I also enjoy hiking, cooking/baking, and watching baseball and hockey.

Last but not least, what is your favorite book and why?
My all-time favorite book is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I’ve read it a few times, and each time I was just blown away by Kundera’s ability to make me feel so connected to a character and so invested in what’s happening to them. And then in a single paragraph, reminds me that this fictional character whom I’ve grown to love is simply a figment of the author's imagination. It’s also the first book that I remember made me sob uncontrollably while reading - which is a powerful thing for a book to accomplish.

My runner-up favorite book is Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It’s just a great story and is beautifully written, as is most of Vonnegut’s writing.