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


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4 thoughts on “English for Librarians by Elena Pastor

  1. Great Ellen!! And congratulations! Because I have seen how much you have improved your English level by studying a lot. A big hug 🙂

  2. As a documentalist and member of the Bibliosalut team I strongly agree with the importance of English to our profession. But perhaps the thing I would like to emphasize most is how easy it has been, with the help of Jonathan McFarland, to integrate English into our daily routine, talk in English with him all the time without barely realising that you’re doing it, how he corrects you all the time when you say something wrong even when he is not in working hours, or remember when he threatened to put money into a piggy bank if we were talking in class and if only one word was in Spanish. I want to thank our English teacher Johnny for his patience and for the wonderful attitude and aptitude to teach us english…thanks Johnny (Sorry for the mistakes…;-)

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