Alumna Receives Prestigious Award for Academic Health Sciences Librarian of the Year
Library Manager Emily Josephine Hurst ’05, with a major in History and a minor in Spanish, has come a long way since she was an undergraduate UST-Houston student, where she found her passion at Doherty Library, helping other students use the archives for research. With her 2008 master’s degree in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hurst is living her dream and flourishing today as a leader in her field.
Accolades from Peers and Advancing to a New Leadership Role
In March of 2023, the Medical Library Association recognized the former Celt for her continued work in academic health sciences library leadership. At the awards ceremony, Hurst, who was serving as the Deputy Director and Head of Research and Education at the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries’ Health Sciences Library, received the prestigious Estelle Brodman Award for Academic Health Sciences Librarian of the Year.
“Being recognized by my peers was a humbling and moving experience,” she said.
Hurst, raised in Brazoria County, has spent over 15 years working for health science libraries, and the career continues to reward her expertise. On Feb. 1, 2024, she will advance to her newest role as the next Health Sciences and Human Services Library dean and associate vice provost at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
“I look forward to putting my experiences into practice in my new leadership position,” she said, adding, “I have learned a great deal about higher education leadership, and helping connect the community with university research is important to me.”
The Field of Medical Librarian
Medical librarians are essential to the health sciences research communities they serve, requiring familiarity with specific databases and resources. Hurst thrives in these communities.
“We often work with medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, allied health, and public health students or health care providers who are seeing patients,” she said. “Helping our library users to understand and value patients’ needs is important. So, we try to focus on topics that help students grow as health care providers while helping them navigate each patient’s unique needs.”
Loving What She Does
Hurst takes pride in her work and has what it takes to excel at being a librarian: a continued interest in investigation, inquiry and research. It also helps to enjoy problem-solving and working with people to solve complex issues.
She said, “Digging deep into a research question and finding potential solutions is one of my passions.”
Today, she describes herself as a library manager who loves researching and helping students and faculty, but….
“I am often working on budgets or grants and managing a team, which today is eight librarians and three staff,” she smiled.
Debunking Misconceptions about Librarians
Happy to clear up some myths about her career field, Hurst explained, “The biggest myth about librarians is that we read all day! I wish I had time to read for fun at work, but I'm usually mentoring a new hire or working on a budget request. Also, I am frequently getting shushed.”
In fact, Hurst admits she is sometimes the loudest person in the room because she is trying to coordinate the setup for one of their exhibits on the history of medicine.
Undoubtedly, Emily Hurst will continue to be heard as she leads the way from one important library project to the next.