English for Librarians by Elena Pastor

Elena Pastor and Jonathan McFarland

When I  first met Jonathan  I thought of the song by Gloria Gaynor “at first I was afraid, I was petrified…” because I wasn’t used to speaking in English. I told him that I needed to prepare myself to start a conversation. It took  me about five minutes and since that day we only speak in English. The strangest phenomenon that Jonathan caused in us is that you can hear a conversation between the Library team and him in English, pass to Catalan or Spanish and come back to English, and no, it is not a session, it is just a conversation. This is the best thing, learning a language has to be natural and not forced , and that is just  what has happened to us, step by step, everyone with different rhythms, we have improved our knowledge in this language and now it is part of our day to day life.

It is not just how much our English has improved in these years, but  how  by improving the language  it has helped my colleagues and me to improve as professionals.

English is important for health professionals because it is the language of science, librarians and documentalists support these health professionals and we need to know what, how and where to search for this information, and, unfortunately in Spanish we do not have best resources, and we need to complete our bibliographic searches there, but the emphasis is on international databases and all are in English.

In these years we have translated our sessions about the Virtual Health Sciences Library of the Balearic Island and given them in English, we have collaborated with Jonathan in some sessions in topics related with our Library and about Health 2.0, we have been to International congresses or meetings, where we have interacted with English speakers and without the need for help from interpreters.

Are you still wondering why librarians need to improve their English? We need it because it is part of our training, we cannot stop to learn throughout our professional life, the same as  the health professionals… New technologies and information management is the basis of our work and the great majority of this is in English, so we need to understand it to show you how to use it.

So, what is stopping you from knowing how the team formed by Bibliosalut.com and Jonathan McFarland can help you?

The Virtual Health Sciences Library of the Balearic Islands

The First Guest Contributor

It is a real pleasure to upload the first Guest Contribution;  a very interesting post written by Elena Pastor, the Health Librarian working in Son Llatzer Hospital and in Bibliosalut. She talks about her  experiences of learning English and of the difference that it has made to her and her colleagues at their Virtual Health Sciences Library of the Balearic Islands in their work as librarians. I think it is a highly informative piece and hopefully will be the first of many contributions from her. Please if you wish to make a contribution to the blog contact me

Elena Pastor