MAC Retirement: Sue Stigleman retired on June 13, 2020
Sue Stigleman retired on June 13, 2020 from Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville, North Carolina, where she had worked since 1994. After meeting library school students while living in the graduate dorm at UCLA, she switched from her original career path to medical librarianship. During her internship at the UCLA Biomedical Library, she took the beginning and advanced Medlars trainings, back in the days when that training was required for searching NLM databases on the Medlars system (via 300 and then 1200 baud modems with acoustic couplers for the telephone headset). At a chance meeting in a library elevator, Louise Darling, the founding librarian, said “Sam Hitt has a job open in Chapel Hill.” Sue took the hint, applied, flew out for an interview, and was offered the job as a reference librarian at the UNC-CH Health Sciences Library beginning in the summer of 1981. As a reference librarian, she worked and trained under the wonderful mentorship of Nidia Scharlock. A few years later, she was offered the chance to work as a systems librarian, which involved setting up the library’s first IBM PC with two floppy disk drives and running MS-DOS. Later, she joined the library’s new Education department, further developing her teaching skills. Her articles about medical librarianship and bibliographic software were published in Online, Database, and Medical Reference Services Quarterly.
In 1990, she moved with her husband to Asheville, North Carolina, where a chance meeting with Wallace McLendon, a former UNC-CH colleague, in Home Depot led to a job in the MAHEC Library, at that time located in the old MAHEC Bridge Building, which spanned the street between St. Joseph’s and Mission Hospitals. Sue took to working in the smaller organization, where she could get to know the organization, the MAHEC region of Western North Carolina, and especially her patrons. First Wallace and then his successor, Joan Colburn, were strong advocates for library services and for their staff. Sue took a small request from one of the faculty (thank you, Dr. Rowe!) to add some librarian time to an HRSA grant to cover librarian orientations for residents and expanded it to become a faculty member in the Asheville Family Medicine residency program. She made a point to attend meetings and retreats, to shadow residents, while developing a three-year information management curriculum for the residents. She was initially a librarian author on Clinical Inquiries through the Family Physicians Inquiries Network, and with the encouragement of division head, Dr. Stephen Hulkower expanded that role to being part of the faculty/resident team evaluating the literature and writing the Clinical Inquiries, eventually completing over a dozen CIs. Over the course of her career, she was a member of MAC, MLA, SLA, and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
Sue’s retirement has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, which messed up her plans to travel throughout the MAHEC region of Western North Carolina in pursuit of local music, dance, food, and crafts. In its place, she is taken up photography again, joining a contemplative photography study group that works beautifully through Zoom. She is also been called back in to work for MAHEC assisting in a project harnessing COVID-19 resources, and literature for regional use.
Thank you for your service, Sue! Congratulations on your retirement! Wishing you all the best in the next phase of your life!