Monday, November 20, 2017

Spotlight - Kathy Strube, Director of the Aurora Health Care Libraries in Milwaukee, WI

This month we've invited Kathy Strube to shine as our spotlight. Librarians involved in Kathy's purchasing consortia have already heard the news that Kathy is retiring, but many other WHSLA librarians have not. Please join me in wishing her a happy retirement! 

Kathy Strube, Director of Aurora Health Care Libraries

"It is a pleasure to connect with Librarians in WHSLA as I have worked with many of you over the years.  Some of you may not know, but I am looking at only two months left in my medical librarian career.  I’ll be retiring January 5, 2018.

I’m really proud of my hardworking, talented library staff at the Aurora Libraries and will miss them. I thank them so much for their comradery and drive for giving great service doing useful work.  I like the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “The best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

When I first came to Aurora it was just St. Luke’s, Mt. Sinai, and Good Samaritan, later growing to the seven libraries we have now.  In 1992 we started online access to Ovid Medline and then other resources, loading many CDs into many towers before we moved to vendor-hosted access and a library website.  Around 2000, with the help of Ovid Sales Rep Theresa Gernand, we started a buying consortium of eleven large hospital libraries or hospital library systems in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota to obtain better prices for online journals which was new business for vendors at that time.  We parlayed that into deals with other vendors.  (see the short story, “Creating and Sustaining a Hospital Library Consortium for Purchasing Online Journals” in the new MLA book “Health Sciences Collection Management for the 21st Century” due out soon.

Over the years we implemented the EOS integrated library system, started patient rounds, tried a Library Facebook site, and started a Digital Commons repository for Aurora authors’ works and historical materials

Being an old reference Librarian I have so appreciated Aurora’s support to have great online resources and always kept some reference work along with my management duties.  We started joining Aurora workgroups about five years ago as embedded Librarians which has really made us visible and connected in the organization.  We haven’t needed to market ourselves since then.  

Aurora is going to try something a little different when I retire.  The current Manager of Continuing Professional Development will become Director of Library and CPD.  We’ll be hiring a new full time Librarian supervisor and Lucy Webb will become part-time.

As for learning a little more about me, I grew up in Whitefish Bay, moving to Wauwatosa in second grade.  I took off for California after my first year of college with my high school sweetheart (also my crew boss at a summer job trimming Christmas trees near Wautoma), and we both graduated from UCLA.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my History degree so enrolled in Library school when we moved to St. Louis, and got my degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia.  It was required to complete half your credits while living on campus at that time, so that was kind of fun after I was already an old married lady.  Dallas spent part of that time roughing it on an Outward Bound course in Idaho’s Sawtooth mountains.  I did an internship with Barb Grout, a Belleville, Illinois hospital librarian who was in one of my classes, and from that contact got my first job as a hospital librarian in Alton, Illinois working with a great mentor, Judy Messerle who later moved to St. Louis University and became an MLA President.

After daughter, Cheyenne, and son, Dylan were born we moved back to Milwaukee.  There I worked for a year at St. Francis Hospital, then 8 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and now 25 plus years with Aurora.

I took a lot of dance growing up and still love moving to the beat at Jazzercise classes.  After vegetable gardening since college days, I gave up my big garden for some patio pots when we recently moved to a condo.  I enjoy cooking when I have the time and won my family’s Christmas cookie contest last year with a chocolate fish cracker, Nutella pine cone cookie.  Typically, I’m a reader.  This year I really enjoyed Lab Girl, Firebrand and the First Lady, and am currently reading Loving What Is.

I have three five-year-old grandchildren and one 8-year-old.  I remember not especially wanting to enter that phase of life – but oh, have I loved it.   More time with them in retirement is in order.  There are more places in the world I want to see too.  We love Cabo in the winter, but Alaska and a Dave Koz cruise are on the list…  I’ve been keeping a notebook of interesting volunteer opportunities so we’ll see where the spirit leads there.  

I wish you all well and have very much enjoyed being a medical librarian with you.  My husband will be relieved that I am no longer bringing home new ways for him to be healthy!"

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