Inspiring People in Our Region: Julia Cleaver, Knowledge Services Manager (aka Head Librarian), Allison Long, Knowledge Services Advisor, Alli Buehler, Knowledge Services Advisor and Courtney Fenters, Graduate AssistantWednesday, February 25th, 2015
Introducing, Ipas, a new North Carolina DOCLINE library
By: Allison Long, Knowledge Services Advisor, Ipas
Edited By: PJ Grier, Outreach/Access Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern Atlantic Region (SE/A). Contact PJ at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ipas is an international non-profit that works in 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to reduce death and injury from unsafe abortion and increase women’s ability to exercise their reproductive rights. Headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ipas is rare among international NGOs in that it has its own research library and employs three full-time librarians and a part-time graduate student assistant.
We have been members of NN/LM for several years and are really excited about our newly minted DOCLINE account. We are also a part of the Association for Population Libraries and Information Centers (APLIC), an international consortium of health and demography libraries; the Association of North Carolina Health and Science Libraries (ANCHASL) and the North Carolina chapter of the Special Libraries Association (NCSLA).
The Ipas library collection contains over 25,000 items, half of which are available electronically 24 hours a day to over 400 staff worldwide. We believe that we have the largest abortion-specific collection in the world –because we don’t know of any others! We collect books, journal articles, grey literature, audio-visual materials, posters, flipcharts and ephemera pertaining to abortion and reproductive healthcare from all regions and countries. Drawing on these resources, we are able to provide our colleagues with the latest clinical and programmatic evidence they need to train health care providers, educate and mobilize communities, and liberalize restrictive reproductive health policies.
Our research has contributed to the publication of dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and official Ipas publications, such as our Clinical Updates in Reproductive Health and the quarterly Because Magazine. On a weekly basis, we send out current awareness newsletters on a variety of topics that are relevant to our field in order to keep staff up-to-date with the latest news and papers. We also offer EndNote setup and training assistance for Ipas staff and we help our authors negotiate copyright agreements with publishers.
We are pretty sure that our staff like what we do, as evidenced by these testimonials:
“It’s a tremendous benefit to the organization to have such erudite, knowledgeable colleagues generating information that supports the collective performance of the organization.” – Senior Health Systems Advisor
“My work life would be unimaginably more difficult now that I’m accustomed to having a resource library at my fingertips.” – Senior Clinical Advisor
“I LOVE LOVE LOVE the library. I mean, I SERIOUSLY LOVE IT!” – Research and Evaluation Manager
(We keep a wiki page of compliments we receive to remind ourselves of the good work we are doing. We highly recommend that every specialized library adopt this practice.)
While Ipas recognizes the immense value of maintaining a fully-staffed library, many other organizations in our field (and elsewhere) do not. Some of our partners have never invested in information professionals, while others who once housed robust libraries have defunded or even cut their information programs entirely. However, the services provided by informational professionals are still in high-demand, and we have actually been approached by multiple people from partner agencies who are interested in using our library services. Due to our current copyright agreements, this is not possible, but we are exploring contract services as an option to broaden our service availability and “share the love” – if the copyright deities will allow it. The Ipas library strongly believes in free and open access to information; we hope in the future to be able to more readily contribute to the global knowledge base at the same time that we are helping to save women’s lives.
With Ipas since 2001, Julia took a mountain of dusty, unorganized boxes of stuff and made them into what is today called the Ipas library. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill’s library science program, Julia was a school librarian before moving into population libraries with a position at IntraHealth International, followed by her long tenure at Ipas.
With Ipas since 2008, Allison began as the library’s student assistant during her graduate program at UNC Chapel Hill. She also dabbled in being a school librarian for a few years at Carolina Friends School before becoming full-time at Ipas in 2012.
With Ipas since 2013, Alli is a former teacher with a master’s degree in education. She most recently worked at Mazzoni LGBT Center in Philadelphia before returning to school to become a librarian at – you guessed it! – UNC Chapel Hill.
With Ipas since 2014, Courtney is scheduled to graduate from UNC Chapel Hill’s library science program this spring. She is currently working on her master’s project with the library at the LGBT Center of Raleigh.