February 17, 2018

Melissa Rethlefsen | Movers & Shakers 2009 – Advocates

Melissa L. Rethlefsen, Mayo Clinic Libraries, Rochester, MNCommunicator

While Melissa Rethlefsen was a student working at the Bio-Medical Library at the University of Minnesota, a reference staff member found her engrossed in the writings of Herodotus—the ancient Greek researcher known as the world’s first historian, who chronicled events in an organized, logical way. The librarian asked Rethlefsen to work at the reference desk. Rethlefsen’s affair with research and information tracking had begun.

An MLS degree and “several fantastic mentors” later, Rethlefsen arrived at her current post as education technology librarian at the Mayo Clinic. Colleagues admire Rethlefsen’s innovative “can-do attitude and extensive technical expertise,” says nominator Susan Mayer, patient educational specialist at Mayo. Sought as an expert in all things 2.0, Rethlefsen and a colleague adapted Learning 2.0 to create three separate online courses for faculty: Mayo Clinic Libraries 2.0 (for library staff), Web 2.0 for Faculty (for Mayo Clinic faculty and staff), and Web 2.0 for Nurse Educators. Other achievements include writing an impressive stream of articles, coauthoring the book Internet Cool Tools for Physicians (2008) and, on the fun side, creating a display on holiday hazards for a winter celebration at the Minnesota Department of Health. “It appealed both to my researcher’s nature and to my apparently macabre sense of humor,” she says.

What Rethlefsen loves most about medical librarianship, though, is helping people. That can mean “finding the surgery steps for a surgeon with a patient on the operating table, or teaching medical students how to search the medical literature to make better decisions,” she says. “Basically everything you do impacts someone’s life.”


Mayo Clinic Libraries, Rochester, MN

POSITION Education Technology Librarian

DEGREE MLS, 2004, University of North Texas

WRITER LJ netConnect Product Pipeline