Introducing our New Digital Services Librarian, Victoria Messana

Welcome to New York Medical College. Tell us a little about your background. 

My path to librarianship started when my two radically different undergraduate majors, computer science and communications, converged.  Each of these two disciplines provided me with a distinct outlook in regard to how to understand the intellectual landscape I encountered on a daily basis.  Computer science is very much an EITHER/OR discipline in that the selection of one path necessarily precludes the selection of a different path, because of how the language of binary works.  On the other hand, communications is more of a BOTH/AND ALSO discipline in that what a person says and the medium through which they express themselves do not necessarily have one set interpretations, but rather depend on a host of factors specific to each individual.  My path to librarianship became apparent when I realized that what I wanted to do was not located in either of these two realms, but rather at their intersection.  Librarianship, particularly digital librarianship, combines strong, service-oriented communication skills with equally strong technical skills rooted in programming and media.  Thus, after earning my bachelor’s degree at Fordham University, I went on to pursue a dual master’s in Library and Information Science from Long Island University and Media, Culture, and Communications from New York University to ensure that I would have the skills necessary to flourish in the library world.

What are you most looking forward to in this new role?

I am excited to be able to expand the limits of my software repertoire.  While physical books remain important to patrons and the history of the library as an institution, modern libraries, HSL included, are developing methods of integrating multimedia into their core missions and collections.  Many of these media require specific software for the purposes of editing, manipulation, etc., so I look forward to learning these software specifics in order satisfy the needs of the library’s patrons.  I am also interested in learning how the functions and needs of a health sciences library differ from those of a more general academic library.

What particular skills and interests do you bring to this job?

The program that I enrolled in for my master’s degrees allowed me to examine different aspects of how an academic library works.  I spent some time at the reference desk, both physical and virtual, as well as in the archival collections management department, the preservation labs, and the digital scholarship services department.  Each of these experiences provided me with the technical skills that come from working with the libraries’ materials as well the communication skills necessary to interact with a library’s patron base and internal departments.  In addition, these experiences fostered a desire to immerse myself in the environment in which I found myself.

Anything else you might like to share, something personal or otherwise?

I love dogs.  Chances are that if you come visit me, one of the many tabs open in my browser will contains pictures of or information about dogs, information that I am hoarding in my quest to find my own canine companion.  I also really enjoy playing video games, RPGs especially, so if you ever need anyone to talk to about Fire Emblem, Zelda, or the like, feel free to send me an email.