What the Doctor said by Raymond Carver


In my previous post I mentioned ” A new path to the waterfall” by Raymond Carver, so I thought that it would be a good idea to mention soemthing about this writer. He was one of the most influential writers of the second half of the twentieth century, who died prematurely in 1988 at the young age of fifty. He was considered one of the greatest short story writers of his generation, responsible, some say, for reviving the fortunes of the short story. His stories were peopled with everyday people and everyday problems. At the end of his life he started to produce poetry, and here is an example of one of his last poems, which talks about his encounter with his doctor after being told he had lung cancer.

What the Doctor said 

He said it doesn’t look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I’m glad I wouldn’t want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I’m real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn’t catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who’d just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

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