Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Cup of Tea... for Thanks

Tea party, by emkeller

I cannot write about today's 'tea bagging' and protest 'tea parties' with a straight face (I prefer my tea brewed loose leaf and parties with bite sized pastries & sandwiches with gossip about friends of friends) but in the spirit of the day I will drink some tea on this tax day with immense gratitude.

Why? If it were not for my own and millions of other Americans' tax dollars, I would not have received my full time graduate education. I am one of 3,220 master's students funded by the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program since 2003, one of the largest programs of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). I do not see this merely as slanted political hype on my resume but an investment in my potential that I aim to have a very high return on.

The story continues with my first library job at one of the eight federally contract-funded regional offices of the National Network of Libraries of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). I work with amazing colleagues in my own office, all other seven offices, and at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) itself. While I appreciated my previous career of a decade, I am truly inspired by the intelligence and dedication of my Network colleagues from coast to coast. They have welcomed me in despite my blatant newbieness and they know how to have some serious fun. I can't imagine having my social network completely overrun by colleagues from my previous career and enjoying it nearly as much as I do now.

Live outside of the United States? Great, but thank an American taxpayer today if you use information from PubMed, MedlinePlus, Healthfinder, one of the 27 NIH agencies (National Institutes of Health) or the other 10 HHS agencies (Department of Health & Human Services, here are some on Twitter). Those aren't your electronic database subscription fees paying towards their development and maintenance, nor are these information resources and the people behind them remotely close to "free."

America, these are your tax dollars at work. Thank you. I have said it before and I will say it again: I have not and never will write here on federal taxpayer time, ever. I take that very seriously. I do hit the 'publish' button in blog comment emails, strive to share & help with information on Twitter more than goof off, and poke around Facebook much less these days since I can't stand the new layout.