|CANCER & TREATMENTS FOR CANCER CENTER PATIENTS PREVENTION & RISK ASSESSMENT CLINICAL TRIALS & RESEARCH LIVING WITH CANCER|
Ruti Volk: U-M Cancer Center Research Librarian
How did you come to work at the Cancer Center's library -- the PERC?
I first visited the PERC as a parent, when my six-year-old daughter Shelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1998. At the time, I was studying for my masters degree in library sciences. The PERC librarian was a friend of mine from graduate school. I used to stop by, and occasionally she'd ask my opinion on things.
My daughter passed away ten months after being diagnosed. Several months later, my friend at the PERC announced that she was relocating and suggested I apply to replace her. I didn't hesitate. I knew it was the right thing to do.
How has your background as the parent of a child with cancer impacted your work?
From the start, I tried to use my experience to make the PERC work harder for those whose lives were changed by cancer. For example, when we received my daughter's diagnosis, I had to learn quickly what the diagnosis meant. I spent hours on the computer just to locate good sources of information, and more importantly, to find guidance on how to explain the disease to my child. That was precious time I could have spent with my family, and I resented having to spend it in a medical library. No parent should have to do that.
So the first thing I did at the PERC was develop bibliographies for each cancer type -- which have become our Information Guides, cataloging the most current, accurate, authoritative sources of information. These guides enable our patrons to cut down on time spent looking for information, leading them directly to quality information sources.
You're pretty passionate about information.
As a parent who's been there, I know just how critical it is. As a librarian, I know that not every resource out there is reliable. Our job is to point patients to the very best information.
What's the best part of your job?
Every day, my work makes a difference. It's great to be able to help patients begin learning and starting to use the terms their doctors use with confidence.