SMHS Library Resources

Updates and information from your health sciences library

Meet Our Staff: Devon Olson

Name: Devon Olson

Position: Research and Education Librarian

Where do you work? 

I work at the SMHS building in Grand Forks, and my desk is in the OT/PT Office Suite on the 3rd floor.

What is your favorite pie or ice cream?

Definitely ice cream, not because I dislike pie (team rhubarb pie, here), but because I love dairy a whole lot more. In terms of ice cream flavors, coffee and nut brittle are my favorites.

How many pets do you have, what kind of pet are they, and what are their names? 

I have one dog, an Aussie/Border Collie/Brittany mix whose name is River. He was a pandemic puppy and my best impulse decision; he’s the sweetest, most serious doofus I’ve ever met. I also have two bikes, named Little Big Girl and Tippy, but they don’t really count as pets, and I have many, many plants… and I don’t think any of them have names.

What are you reading right now? 

I tend to pile on projects, including books, so I’ve got plenty going right now! For a book club I’m reading “Lady Tan’s Circle of Women”, by Lisa See. Before bed I like to read books from a series of medieval murder mysteries by Edith Mary Pargeter centered on a Welsh Benedictine monk named Cadfael. These books are oddly calming, and I’m currently on #9 in that series, “Dead Man’s Ransom”. For fun I just started “A Marvellous Light”, by Freya Marske, and I suspect that one might take over my life for a bit. I also recently picked up “My Favorite Plant”, a compendium edited by Jamaica Kincaid, and I’m really excited to crack that one open.

Tell us about your journey to working in a medical library. 

Like a lot of medical librarians (even though I’m technically a health sciences librarian), I fell into this role by accident. During and after my librarianship graduate degree, I intended to be an Archivist, and did lots of volunteering and work in local and county archives in Seattle Washington, where I got my degree. However, I found the work to be really lonely, in addition to hypercompetitive, poorly funded, and underappreciated! Around the same time, I got a part time student-job at a community college library and discovered how much I enjoyed working with students while they took their first steps into their adulthood or professional identities. The work was much more dynamic and fast-paced, and I loved being a part of the community supporting those learners. I eventually graduated with my MLIS and had to step away from that student job, and quite honestly got more and more stressed trying to find an archives job that would allow me to afford the cost of living on the west coast. My mother, still here in ND, sent me the job ad for my current position here at SMHS and I couldn’t resist. I knew that I’d find a passionate community of educators at UND, and that I could say goodbye to the hustle culture of unpaid internships in Seattle. I never expected my interests in community ways of knowing to mesh so well with the health sciences’ interdisciplinary culture and theories of intervention and practice. It’s been a great fit and I feel really lucky.

What do you want everyone to know about Library Resources? 

That we love to collaborate! I think our library is still growing into our identity as an embedded/electronic library, and folks aren’t always sure how to work with us. But we honestly love to hear from and build new ideas with our community, anything from teaching to projects, to events. And nobody loves a puzzle like a librarian; the weirder the problem, the better. Please never hesitate to reach out!