Meet Stuart Moss, MLS

Meet the 2013 Recipient of the APA Award for Excellence in Librarianship.

Stuart Moss, MLS, the 2013 Recipient of the APA Award for Excellence in LibrarianshipWe are pleased to introduce the winner of the 2013 APA Award for Excellence in Librarianship: Stuart Moss, Library Director at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research (NKI).

During his years at NKI — through budget crunches and staffing and leadership changes — he's wowed his colleagues, staff at neighboring Rockland Psychiatric Center, members of the community, and librarians with whom he's worked on the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC) and the Association of Mental Health Librarians (AMHL).

Stuart has been at NKI since emerging from Rutgers as a freshly minted librarian in 1995. The early days were a bit of a culture shock. He arrived with little practical experience in medical libraries to find himself in sole charge of a small and older paraprofessional staff in a somewhat secluded location on the grounds of Rockland Psychiatric Center in Orangeburg, NY.

In response to that initial isolation and as he carved out his place at NKI, he made one of his important first discoveries. Networking is critical. Within months, he'd begun to establish his now long-term and important relationships with fellow librarians at AMHL and SENYLRC.

And with a little time, Stuart became integral to NKI and its various communities, gradually discovering just how well suited he was to this job. NKI itself, Stuart notes, "occupies a unique space at the intersection of state-funded public mental health, academic research, and clinical care. Likewise, the NKI library is truly a 'special' library — not exactly a hospital library or an academic library, but with elements of both."

With a national and international reputation for contributions to psychiatric research, it employs about 350 scientists and support staff. Stuart thus assists patrons with a fascinating range of research needs, covering state-of-the-art topics in health services, neuroscience, best treatments for schizophrenia and other severe mental illness, to name just a few. That range of research plays to two of Stuart's most notable traits — his ongoing interest in and curiosity about the subjects he deals with and a simple but rare skill. "One of the things I do well," he notes, "is I pay close attention."

He must indeed. Stuart was nominated by several of the researchers he serves. Among the wealth of plaudits, he is described as having "an uncanny ability to anticipate the needs of library users and keep them up-to-date with relevant information." Another called him "a nexus for the research that is done at NKI" and credited him with transforming an "outdated, poorly organized library…into a modern library that provides an array of electronic services."

Stuart has been at the helm during trying budgetary times, doing ever more with fewer resources and less staff. Through it all, he has been, according to another of his nominations, "a staunch and effective advocate for library service in support of the scientific endeavor."

His career has also coincided almost exactly with the advent of the Internet. He — and NKI with him — have changed apace. His aim "has been to adapt to the changing times — flexibly, creatively, and persistently — so as to provide the best information services possible with the resources at hand." His nomination suggests he has managed superbly.

We could go on. He has served as a leader within professional organizations, published, developed a Family Resource Center for families in the surrounding community affected by mental illness and brain diseases, and researched and responded to inquiries from many outside of NKI. Since 2010 he has been a Research Assistant Professor in the New York University School of Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Somehow he even finds time to play a little poker and tennis and to raise a family.

"Serendipity," says Stuart, brought me to NKI. "This setting has proven to be an excellent fit for my interests and skills." The communities he works with are in total agreement.