Between the Lines: January Member Spotlight
Kathy Jones Hoffman
Former Executive Director (retired)
Research Medical Library, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
What inspired you to become a librarian?
I started working in my neighborhood public library when I was a junior in high school. When I started college, I needed a part-time job, so I worked in the university library. As I neared graduation, I was clueless about what I would do with my nice “liberal arts” education, until my supervisor in the library suggested I should try librarianship. The next thing I knew, I was enrolled in the University of Illinois Library School. I thought I wanted to work in academic libraries, but one of my library school mentors steered me to health sciences librarianship. After graduating from the U of I, I went to work in the Texas Medical Center Library as a cataloger. I have never regretted my decision to become a health sciences librarian. It’s been a very rewarding career choice.
What is an innovative practice at your (current or former) library that you’d like to share with others?
I am particularly proud to have played a role in establishing the Historical Resources Center at the MD Anderson Research Medical Library. It is unique among biomedical institutions. One aspect of the HRC is its Oral History Program, which got its start with a TexTreasures grant. Documenting the history of this unique institution produces information relevant to understanding the institution’s present and future.
If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Lisa Genova, because her stories give me a greater appreciation and understanding of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and autism, among others. Chris Bohjalian because he is a master storyteller and each of his books is on a unique topic. Nevada Barr, because I love a good mystery and I love our national parks. As a former park ranger, her stories never fail to disappoint.
What are you reading right now?
We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter.
What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
My most memorable experience was when I was recognized by my peers with the TLA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.