As of spring semester 2023, as a Research and Education Librarian, Samantha Guss supports public health programs. This is a new focus for the position and is designed to meet the growing needs of VCU’s burgeoning public health programs including those long established through the School of Medicine and those developing in other disciplines such as through he College of Health Professions. Before joining VCU Libraries’ faculty, Guss served as the Social Sciences Librarian for Data, Statistics, and Government Information at the University of Richmond, Boatwright Memorial Library.

What particular strengths, skills, or training do you bring to VCU that will help you serve schools/programs you are assigned to work with? 

I’ve been an academic librarian for about 13 years and in that time, I’ve worked with faculty and students using social and behavioral sciences resources of all kinds, including data and government information. I love teaching (and learning from) students at all levels, and have a lot of experience breaking down complex topics and helping folks gain the skills and confidence to help them succeed with library research. I also have experience supporting data-intensive research and scholarly publishing, with a particular interest in open practices.

What are your goals for the spring semester, your first at VCU?   

My goals for my first few months are getting to know the MCV campus, my colleagues at VCU Libraries, and the programs I’ll be supporting. Although I’ve been an academic librarian for a long time, it’s my first time working on a medical campus (which is exciting for me!) and I have a lot to learn about the culture and the way things work here too. 

How do you describe your working style? 

I’d say my style is flexible and I’m always willing to meet folks wherever they are, metaphorically and technology-wise. I value relationships and asking lots of questions, and try to prioritize transparency and care any time I’m working with others.

Please share any observations you have about the unique nature of the programs and people you work with about their unique research/materials challenges present?

Public health research is so diverse and interdisciplinary that I don’t think I would be surprised by any type of materials a researcher was using or where they were seeking to publish. They draw from medical literature while also bringing insights from lots of other sciences and social sciences fields and valuing a range of methodologies–which brings challenges, but also opportunities. I appreciate that their research work is so integrated into the needs of the larger community.

What are some common questions health sciences researchers face that you are well equipped to respond to? 

I’m sure I will learn quickly what the most common questions are, but in general, I want folks to ask me anything! I can’t guarantee that I’ll be the right person to provide an answer, but one of the things I’m good at is helping figure out who can help or how to take the next step.

Are there particular services or opportunities VCU Libraries provides that you want to stress? 

We have a huge range of expertise across VCU Libraries in everything from archives and university history to open educational resources (OER) to scholarly publishing. My job is to make sure the VCU faculty, staff, and students I serve get connected with all our resources at the point when they need them. 

What else should VCU health sciences faculty know about you? 

I’m new to VCU, but not to Richmond! I’ve lived here for eight years and still feel like I have so much to see – which is especially fun now that my husband and I have a 3-year-old  who’s an enthusiastic explorer too.

Categories Faculty/Staff, Health Sciences Library, Librarians at Work, Public health programs