Faculty Spotlight: Molly Montgomery, MLS, MS

Molly Montgomery serves as Director of Library Services at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Molly Montgomery has been a medical librarian for 15 years and has loved being involved with health information research and health education. Molly has worked in a variety of library settings including a public library, a health non-profit organization, a hospital library, and a university. 

Molly’s professional interests include teaching evidence-based medicine, promoting open access publishing, and encouraging student involvement in research. Away from work Molly likes to hike, read sci-fi and fantasy books, play tabletop games, and eat cake.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in library services?

A: I have always loved books, reading, and libraries, but I never really considered a career as a librarian until I was in a graduate program that I didn’t enjoy and I needed to come up with another plan. When a career counselor asked if I’d ever considered being a librarian it was like the clouds parted and the sunshine came out- of course! I love tracking down information, helping people find what they need, and talking about research, so it was a natural fit. I also knew that I wanted to be adjacent to health care professions, so I attended a library school that had a program specifically geared to train medical librarians. I’ve have been in the medical library field for the better part of the last 15 years, and have had a great time working with clinicians, students, and faculty.

Q: What inspired you to work for ICOM?

A: When I heard that ICOM was looking for a Director of Library Services I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to build a library from the ground up. I started working on the ICOM library before we even had a building and when we only had a few faculty and staff and well before we had any students. The experience of developing a new library for a new medical school has pushed me way outside my comfort zone, which has been exciting and fun (and sometimes terrifying!).

I also believe strongly in ICOM’s mission to train and retain and/or recruit our students to practice in Idaho and neighboring states in order to address the physician shortages we are facing. I would really like to retire somewhere in rural Idaho and it would be great not to have to drive for an hour or more to see a physician!

Q: What is your favorite memory from your time at ICOM?

A: I think my favorite memory was from early in the morning on the first day of medical school for our inaugural class. It was so quiet and still, but there was a feeling of anticipation and excitement as we were all about to embark on an adventure together. It’s been a wild ride ever since!

Another memorable experience was when we started to provide curbside checkouts of library materials about two months after we closed for the pandemic. It was wonderful to see the students (and their kids, dogs, and even cats) again.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: That’s a tough question because I love so much about my job! I think the best part is getting to know the students and supporting them during what is a very stressful time in their lives. I celebrate their successes and commiserate with them when they are frustrated or feel lost.

I’m also very lucky to have amazing colleagues here at ICOM. I’ve worked with many great people over my career, but the employees at ICOM are really something else. I feel valued and supported and I’m never treated like ‘just’ a librarian.

Q: What advice do you have for our student doctors as they prepare to become physicians?

A: My advice is to remember why you’re doing this and to think beyond ‘just’ passing your board exams. I know that it’s hard to see beyond that next exam or hurdle on your way to becoming a doctor, but there will eventually be a point when the endless tests will be over and you will be providing care to patients. Try to keep that in mind when things seem overwhelming!


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