Chemistry Lessons for Librarians from the Fall 2019 ACS National Meeting in San Diego - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
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Chemistry Lessons for Librarians from the Fall 2019 ACS National Meeting in San Diego

Nevena Tomic is a Subject Specialist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. She received a travel grant from ACS Publications to attend the Fall 2019 ACS Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.

Some of my friends and colleagues have asked me, “What were the highlights of your ACS San Diego experience?” There is no simple answer. Some highlights included meeting people, falling in love (again) with chemistry (at this age?), and enjoying San Diego — if I try to classify my impressions as a passionate librarian.

So, let’s start with people. The other three grant winners (Alexa from the United States, Jessica from Canada, and Stephen from the Philippines) proved to be great company. We shared our experiences, coming from different countries, universities, with different backgrounds and challenges in our libraries. People from ACS (Andrew) and CINF technical division (Donna, Jeremy, Susan) were friendly, helpful, interesting and helped me to better understand their work and to start thinking how I can join to learn and to help. I met people from my university’s Core Labs department who were there to recruit students and faculty to come to the Middle East and join our young (10-year-old) university. They were very surprised to see me there and asked if I am there to recruit people for the library. I explained I came to learn and that I won a generous grant from ACS. I hope this meeting far from Saudi Arabia, in different circumstances, will be fruitful for better cooperation between our Library and Core Labs Department.

I loved chemistry in high school, but then I went to university and got a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and a Ph.D. in library and information science. I became an academic librarian and for many years my link to chemistry faded, until 6 months ago when I became Subject Specialist for Physical Sciences and Engineering at KAUST in Saudi Arabia and realized I need to learn more about chemical information resources to be able to help our researchers. So, I joined the CINF mailing list, and there I came across the call for the ACS Library Grant. I was lucky to get the grant which opened this whole new world to me.

I was surprised how big the ACS National Meeting is (the biggest conference I attended before was the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), but I think the ACS meeting is bigger). It was not easy to select sessions to attend. Before going to San Diego, I was invited to give a lecture on searching scientific information to master’s students of Crystallography and Diffraction course, so I decided to learn more about crystallography resources at the conference and to go to listen to these topics. Attending CINF sessions was a logical choice. I learned a lot. Two highlights (from my experience) at CINF sessions were XR in libraries and Safety Information Literacy. When it comes to crystallography, I was not able to fully understand the high-level sessions I attended, but now I know the basics about crystallography resources, and I am proud of this.

San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities I visited, with a perfect climate and vibrant atmosphere. I liked the Gaslamp Quarter, the historic area where my hotel was located, as well as Seaport Village at the Bay, Balboa Park, with its art galleries, museums, and charming gardens. My favorite place there is the Air & Space Museum.

My San Diego experience was a perfect opportunity and a nice start for the freshman in the chemical information world. I see a lot of possibilities for me to better serve our community and for our Library to more significantly support the researchers in fields related to chemistry.

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