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OHLA is an association committed to the support of health library specialists who deliver quality information services to the health care communities of Ontario.

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Do you ever wonder who makes up the OHLA executive committee? OHLA members just like you. Meet your new 2015 OHLA Executive.

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Member Spotlight

Bonnie Brownstein

Bonnie Brownstein, B.A., M.L.S.

First Professional Position:
Librarian at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital

Current Position:

Librarian at Health Sciences Library, North Bay Regional Health Centre (until August 28, 2015!)

Education (include degrees): BA, MLS

canoeing, kayaking and hiking  

Could you describe a little bit about yourself?
Bonnie loves travelling and the outdoors, from eating piranha fish in the Amazon River to advocating for lakes with the Nippissing Naturalists. Next stop, British Columbia for an adventure-filled retirement with partner (and fellow-paddler) Stephen.


Master of Library Science and Bachelor of Arts (honours) in Political Science from University of Toronto

Current Position (please describe):
Librarian at North Bay Regional Health Centre (until August 28, 2015!)
When the North Bay Regional Health Centre was constructed in 2011 it merged the former North Bay General, an acute care hospital with no history of library services, with the NorthEast Mental Health Centre, a psychiatric hospital that had a library before the merger. Over the past four years Bonnie has worked to build a foundation and improve the standard of library service to both clinical communities.

What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position?


Cataloguing the library collection and working with other stakeholders to make e-resources like eCPS and DSM V available to the whole organization

Raising the information literacy level of staff, physicians and students and teaching them to appreciate the value of library service

Creating a business case for the library moving forward            


In an atmosphere of layoffs, Bonnie’s position is subject to attrition when she retires in August 2015, meaning that that users will have to find out the hard way that instructions, spreadsheets and procedures docs are not the same thing as library services.

Update! there is now some possibility that Bonnie will be replaced :) 

Which was most rewarding about your present job?
Supporting patient care!

What was your background before you became a Librarian?
Bonnie got the idea to pursue librarianship from a fellow-Kibbutznik while working on a collective farm in Israel

What would you be doing if you weren’t a Librarian?
Bonnie’s initial inclination towards social work in an urban environment has given way to an interest in environmental activism in the open spaces

What do you think is the most Interesting Issue in Librarianship Today?
Survival. Bonnie will follow our future progress with considerable interest!

Are you involved in other associations?
Bonnie has enjoyed many CHLA conferences, and served on the executive of the Toronto Health Library Association before following her heart to Northern Ontario

Is there anything about you that others might be surprised to know?
As Information Services Librarian for the Northern Ontario Virtual Library Bonnie travelled to remote hospitals in Northeastern Ontario on James Bay and was a frequent flier on Bearskin Airlines

What advice would you give to new librarians?
Document the tasks you perform, and market your services, to make sure people in your organization know the value of the services you provide. Don’t wait to be asked! Is

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Become multi-skilled so that if you cannot find library related work you can find other work that suits your interests and talents. If your position is eliminated – try not to take it personally, senior administrators do not understand the value of library staff even when they themselves have benefited from library services! 


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