As Himmelfarb Library begins the transition into Our New Normal, you may have questions about where to access certain services and resources we provide. Here’s a guide on what you’ll find available online and in-person.
Himmelfarb’s Reference team is also available online. Our chat service is monitored by reference staff 8:30AM-8PM EST Monday through Thursday and 8:30AM-5PM EST Friday. Have a question a little too involved for chat? We can also schedule individual meetings with a reference librarian via WebEx. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process!
In addition to our print collection available in our book stacks, you can also find our multimedia collection, audiovisual collection, and software resources on the third floor, in the Bloedorn Technology Center.
Our special collections, the Humanities & Health collection, Historical collection, and Healthy Living collection, are all accessible in-person.
Some of our older journals are kept in on-site storage as bound volumes. You can request a specific volume for perusal by following the instructions on our Borrowing and Requesting page.
Anatomy models are available in various places throughout the library. Our skeletal models and bone boxes are up on the third floor. Heart and brain models can be checked out at the Circulation desk.
If you have any questions about access as we move forward with Our New Normal, reach out to us at email@example.com or call the Circulation Desk at 202-994-2962.
Take a moment for yourself and check out Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb's July Study Break Guide! This guide offers idea for relaxation, restoration, and creativity including watching DC's zoo animals online, taking a yoga class, or trying your hand at paint by numbers!
I loved wandering the shelves of my library growing up, looking for titles that caught my eye. All lined up, the books had their own poetry, the occasional pair, trio, or quartet of titles that seemed perfect next to one another (and not just because of the order enforced by the Dewey Decimal System).
We may not be able to wander the library shelves right now, but we do have the opportunity to make poetry.
Stack some books from your collection, snap a photo, and share an image on Instagram. Be sure to tag @himmelfarbgw and #gwspinepoetry for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Politics and Prose. Images must be posted between June 1 and June 30, 2020, to be considered eligible. Only GWU SMHS, SON, and SPH affiliates are eligible to win. Entries will be evaluated for originality and creativity. Winner will be announced July 7, 2020.
As Dr. James Griffiths noted in his recent Grand Rounds presentation, trauma shifts how the brain processes information, and we lose our capacities to reflect and to relate and to maintain our sense of identity. When faced with the fear and uncertainty of a medical illness - or a global pandemic - we lose our ability to concentrate. We cannot sit still to read the books we once loved. We pick up our pens and put them down again. Each time we try to explain what we are going through, it seems like we aren’t being clear enough, like there is no language adequate to encapsulate our experiences. Patients, family members, health care providers, we are, each of us and in our own ways, experiencing these strange times. Providers on the front lines - to whom we extend our sincere gratitude - may not be able to separate themselves from their work. Others of us, working from home for over a month now, may have established a schedule, but we still cannot bring ourselves to concentrate on the novel on our bedside table.
In our virtual meetings and phone calls, there is a tacit understanding that these are not normal times. Where do we start the conversations we need, and do not necessarily want, to have? How can we express ourselves and find the connections necessary to cope?
Graphicmedicine comic creators often grapple with these and other questions. How does one illustrate both the events and the emotions of coping with the pain, fear, and hope that accompany medical crises?
The New England GraphicMedicine conference was among the many that moved online this spring. The organizers added a COVID-19 comics panel discussion to the agenda. In this discussion, presenter Alice Jaggers described how the comics appearing - online, on social media channels, and via other platforms - provide a sampling of how graphicmedicine is used [see: https://www.graphicmedicine.org/covid-19-comics/]. While no comic fits neatly into a single category, they can be generally divided by a main tone or aim. Some provide educational information about diseases and treatment or various medical conditions and can thereby improve health literacy. They can provide historical information or context. Others address difficult ethical questions such as triage or end-of life care. Patients and providers alike draw comics as an outlet for expression, taking the time to reflect and cope during difficult times. These comics can be heartwarming and hopeful, or they can achieve the ironic synergy of humor and sadness unique to the comic medium.
I am not surprised that I find myself turning to COVID-19 comics. Comics “provide companionship through shared experience” (Williams, 2012). When we are socially distancing, physically isolated, reading a comic strip that encapsulates the quarantine experience can make us laugh, make us cry, and remind us that we are not alone (Myers & Goldenberg, 2018).
Even when we cannot focus, especially when we cannot or do not want to focus, this rich medium, with all its layers, accomplishes through the synergy of drawing, words, and dialogue, that feat of connecting us. The space between the comic panes allows us to pause and process as we encounter traumatic events and difficult emotions on the page or screen (Williams, 2012).
Graphicmedicine has been accepted and embraced by long-standing institutions and publishers. The Annals GraphicMedicine Channel includes comic strips that bring to the surface struggles healthcare professionals face. In comic format, these stories are human, relatable, and non-threatening. Since 2016, JAMA has issued an annual “Best Of” list for graphicmedicine. (remember to access JAMA via the Himmelfarb Library’s website; check out their medical humanities section for articles about graphicmedicine and more).
A search for “Graphicmedicine” in PubMed returns 155 results, with most appearing within the last 5 years. Recognizing the growth in this area, two MeSH terms were added: in 2016, Graphic Novel as a publication type was introduced and, in 2018, “Graphic Novels as Topic” with the entry term “GraphicMedicine as Topic” was added. This is defined as “Works about book-length narratives told using a combination of words and sequential art, often presented in comic book style.” Graphicmedicine is a diverse and growing field, with, as described, a broadly inclusive definition. Graphicmedicine is at the intersection of the already blurry spheres of health and medicine and comic style. Graphicmedicine can come in the form of an Instagram post or a strip on the Annals GraphicMedicine channel or a 200-page graphic novel. The topics range from anxiety to spanish flu (both pertinent to these times). The perspective may be that of the patient or provider or the family members and friends of those affected.
The National Library of Medicine collects graphicmedicine materials for several reasons, including to “record progress in [medical] research, especially from the perspective of the patient patient”, contribute to medical education, describe “policies that affect the delivery of health services” in a straightforward manner, and depict “the public’s perception of medical practice” (Tuohy & Eannarino, 2018) As they go on to state, the perspectives and stories found in graphicmedicine are unique from those found in technical and research literature.
According to Dr. Griffiths, to be resilient, we must step into adversity. We can use graphicmedicine to reflect, cope, and connect and to ultimately help us step into adversity.
Connect with colleagues and your creative side on Tuesday, April 7, from 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm. Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library is hosting a Virtual Lunch Break: Coloring Session. Print out a few medical history-themed coloring pages, dust off your colored pencils, and drop in to our virtual meeting room. Relax, chat with friends (old and new), and let out your inner artist.
Not sure what to color? The event organizer will email registrants a few suggestions from the New York Academy of Medicine’s annual Color Our Collections campaign. Who isn’t interested in coloring a Uronoscopic Consultation from Fasciculus Medicinae? (from the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia).
It’s a work in progress…
Did you color in the lines? Whether you did or didn’t, we’re asking you to submit your colored page to the Health Sciences Research Commons. Of those who submit, one will be chosen at random to win a gift card for a food delivery service.
Feeling stressed? Come to an art therapy session on Monday April 6, from 12:00-1:30 pm in Himmelfarb Room 202. The GW Art Therapy Clinic interns will guide you through a silk hoop painting activity (no previous art skills required!) that will focus on stress relief and creative expression - to help you discover a range of ideas that can help to cope and creatively manage stress. Guaranteed to be a fun and stress free experience!
The event is free but space is limited so be sure to sign up today.
Use Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb's DC Events Guide to start 2020 off right! Take a step in the right direction by joining the Washington National Cathedral's Meditation Walk, or watch a Chef's Table Demonstration at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. If you want to play in 2020, explore the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, or take in a GW Women's Basketball game!
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