Issue 81(Summer 2005)

Summer 2005, Issue #81

The APLIC-International Communicator is published three times yearly by the Association for Population and Family Planning Libraries and Information Centers, International.
Yan Fu, Librarian, University of Michigan Population Studies Center, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248. Phone: 734-998-6277; Fax: (734) 998-7415; E-mail:
Nykia M. Perez, Library Director, University of Pennsylvania, Population Studies Center, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, Pa, 19104-6298. Phone 215-898-5375; Fax: 215-898-2124; E-mail:

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President’s Message

By Nykia M. Perez, University of Pennsylvania

Greetings! This year’s conference was a wonderful beginning to a new year for our organization. Anne Ilacqua did a wonderful job of keeping on top of APLIC-I affairs and is an invaluable member of APLIC-I. I expect that this new year of our organization will be even better than ever since we have such a dedicated membership and Board. I’ve been a member of APLIC-I since 2001 and every year I’ve realized how valuable it is to have a network of colleagues in the field of population information and librarianship. While many of the changes and issues we deal with within each of our disparate libraries and situations are not much different than what many special librarians and information specialists encounter in their respective fields, I continue to find APLIC-I an invaluable resource. I look forward to working with everyone this coming year and am hopeful that we will continue to be a resource to new population and reproductive health librarians and information professionals.

I know that Los Angeles is a costly place to visit but I hope to see more of our members in attendance next year. Please plan on attending. I am certain that we will have an informative conference. Tara Murray, the Vice President of APLIC-I is responsible for organizing next year’s conference and I know that she will do a fantastic job. It’s not too early or too late to send in ideas for next Spring’s annual conference. If you are interested in being a speaker contact Tara or any of the APLIC-I Board members with your proposal. I look forward to seeing everyone in Los Angeles. Have a productive summer.

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2005 Annual Conference Presentations

For those of you who may have missed the annual meeting or for those of you who want a refresher, many of the PDF’s for the conference presentations are available online at:

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Conference Photos

Snapshots from the 2005 Annual Conference are also available online, courtesy of Yan Fu at:

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The APLIC-I Conference – My Impressions
By Jane Goett, PATH

It’s hard to believe that three months have passed since the APLIC-I conference was held. But as I look back at the conference, I find that the presentations and messages remain fresh in my mind.

I attended the conference with a stipend granted by APLIC-I. I would definitely encourage any of you to apply for the stipend, because with that in hand, I was able to convince my manager to cover the cost of the airfare to Philadelphia. I definitely gave me some leverage!

My first impression of the conference was what a treat it was to finally meet many of you in person, and to re-meet others. As warm and helpful a group as APLIC-I members are via e-mail, it’s even more apparent in person. Due to my travel schedule, I wasn’t able to attend the tour of the Library Company of Philadelphia or the APLIC-I Board Meeting on Monday, March 28. But I was there first thing Tuesday morning, looking forward to the presentations ahead. And so they began!

As I listened to the presentations and discussions, a few recurring themes emerged. I would like to share my impressions of those here.

“New”, “Improved”, “Better” Faster”… Constant developments in technology came forward as one of the biggest challenges for everyone – the “double-edged sword” for many of us. Our users, clients, and managers now have the expectation that everything is available instantly and for free – and we just need to “Google it” to get all the information we need.

And yet several of the presentations pointed out what a great opportunity we have in putting this new technology to use. The advances in GIS, for example, show great promise in their applications to population and development studies. We are able to provide researchers with data sets and information that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get access to a decade ago. The session on Latin American & Caribbean resources showed how even information in less-developed regions is becoming available to us. As was pointed out in the panel discussions, everyone is looking for that balance between the demand for the latest technologies, the information those technology advances provide us, and providing quality services.

“Doing more with less” was another theme I think we could all identify with. I was struck by how universal this challenge is- from NGOs, to academic libraries, to private company libraries – we are all being asked to provide the same or increased services, while at the same time operating on stagnant or reduced budgets. None of the speakers had the answer for that, but it was interesting to hear how other organizations are meeting the challenge. I was struck by a sentence from the FHI Library’s mission statement: that the Library “provides services as comprehensively as resources permit.” I thought that was a really clear way to start managing expectations in light of often diminishing resources.

Open Access was another hot topic. The session on Open Access gave a good overview on copyright issues and on the way that open access is evolving. One interesting thing that came out of the discussion is that some organizations (including mine) are amending publishing agreements to retain some rights for the authors/organization. To date, no-one had received complaints from publishers, so it seems like this is one way we can make sure we can use our authors’ materials. Another interesting thing to note was the discussion of the Creative Commons license as an alternative to copyright. This is something my organization will be looking at in the future.

The final theme I would like to comment on is that of librarians taking on “non-traditional” roles. Due to reorganizations, staff reductions, budget cuts, etc., many of us have been asked to take on roles in knowledge management, records management, editing, proofing & writing, and even management of non-library functions.
Or, just as likely, libraries and librarians are being managed by other departments. One of the presenters showed a dizzying organization (and re-organization) chart, where the library was moved around like a game piece! But even if the changes with our organizations haven’t been so dramatic, we are increasingly being called on to take on new or expanded roles. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One speaker likened it to becoming an “organ” within the organization, rather than an “appendage” – and so maybe more integral to the operation of the institution as a whole.

As the conference wound down, I was struck again by how similar our circumstances are, despite the fact that we come from all sorts of institutions. There were many good ideas and solutions, and some challenges left to all of us to resolve in our own ways – but I think we all learned something from the others that we can use now back in our own “real world”. It was interesting to hear from the participants in the panel discussions how they are coping with all the changes in their libraries, in the theme of “APLIC Librarians Respond to Change.” But the question that I’m still mulling over, posed by Mary Panke is, “How do we change to respond?”

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News from the Field

Report from Ghana
By Stacia Burnham, ICRW

This past April, I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana as a member of ICRW’s Nutrition and Gender Initiative (NGI) team. The NGI is a multiyear research and advocacy project that aims to reduce malnutrition across the lifecycle in Ghana by incorporating gender-focused innovations into existing nutrition programs, and by incorporating nutrition innovations into existing programs that address women’s empowerment.

I am neither a nutritionist nor a gender expert—so you might wonder what I was doing there…

Well, to their credit, both the project director and the funding agency that supports the NGI recognized the need to actively address the issues of information management and knowledge sharing that would be encountered in a multidisciplinary, multi partner, multi-site project of this scale. I was asked to assist the NGI project team in designing and delivering a three day conference to kick off the initiative and to explore ways that the partners can promote effective information management and knowledge sharing– both internally within their home organizations, as well as between their institutions as members of the NGI.

The NGI partners in Ghana represent a broad range of organizations including government ministries, community-based service delivery NGOs, micro lending institutions, and academic research institutes—all with different priorities, capacities, and resources. So it was both challenging and exciting to work with them as a group, trying to build cohesion and encourage a culture of information sharing that they could then build on as the project carries forward.

I used a combination of hands-on activities, group work, and presentations to introduce information management concepts, and I provided a set of print and electronic resources that the partners could take back and use within their own organizations. I focused on what I consider to be the three key elements of any information management strategy—people (most important! always!), processes and tools—and I was impressed by the level of interest and the sincere commitment of many participants (even a high-ranking official in the Nutrition Unit of the Ghana Health Services Department) to advocate for improving information management within their home institutions.

Following the conference, which was held outside Accra, I had the opportunity to travel a bit within Ghana. I visited the beautiful Cape Coast area, which is known for its historical importance as a major slave trading route. I toured the British slave fort in the town of Cape Coast, and found that it now houses a small children’s library on its grounds—quite an interesting idea and, I think, a powerful symbol of hope for the future in a place that also remembers a terrible past.

After a bumpy twelve hour van ride where I watched the terrain change from tropical rainforest to dry savanna, I arrived in the Upper East region of the country. Several of our research partners are based in this part of Ghana, so I wanted to see for myself what the day-to-day reality of conducting research in a remote and resource-constrained setting might be like. Not only was it the hot season, it was the hottest part of the hot season. But my guide for those few days, a terrific researcher named John Akalgaung who works with us on the NGI project, kept me plied with water while I explored sacred crocodile pools, roamed around ancient rock formations near the Burkina Faso border, and, of course, visited area libraries.

Among the highlights of this trip was getting the chance to meet and speak at length with two exceptional librarians who work in the Upper East of Ghana—Christine Awinder, librarian at the Bolgatonga Regional Library, and Sylvester (he prefers the nickname “Smart”) Amafo at the University of Development Studies in Navrongo. It was really refreshing to share ideas with these international colleagues who are dedicated to the library profession and are making a difference in a very tangible way in an area of the world that has many, many needs and few resources. I left Ghana with a new appreciation for the importance of our work as library and information specialists and as APLIC members, a great deal of respect for the dedication of the librarians I met there, and of course, a few new friends.

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Spotlight on a Member

By John Carper, John Snow, Inc. and World Education, Inc.

I have been the librarian of John Snow, Inc. and World Education, Inc. since March 2001. I succeeded Theresa Frydryk, who worked at JSI/WEI for many years, and was a long-time APLIC member. My professional background has been almost exclusively in science and medical academic libraries, but my educational background has been in the humanities and social sciences. Fortunately, my current position allows me to blend all of my interests in a stimulating work environment.

I received a BA in History from Boston University, and my MSLIS from Simmons College. While working at Harvard I received an ALM in English and American Literature from the Extension School. My thesis was on American novelist Don DeLillo, whose novel Libra is one of my all time favorite reads. While earning my degree from Simmons I first worked at Boston University as a shelver, then in technical services as a cataloguing/acquisitions assistant. From BU I moved over to the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Library, a research institute with about 300 scientists. While there I was responsible for reference and interlibrary loans, as well as acquisitions. This job was the most similar to my current position in that I wore so many different hats.

Wanting to specialize in reference work, which is still my favorite aspect of librarianship, I worked as a reference and instruction librarian at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. I worked there for six years. The experience I gained in online searching and medical reference have been most valuable to me here at JSI. My last position at Harvard was at the Cabot Science Library as a reference librarian.

The move to a corporate/nonprofit library has been exciting in many ways. JSI and WEI are both flat organizations that allow a great deal of autonomy for their staffs. Our president, Joel Lamstein, has often said that it is OK to fail, as long as you fail trying. An atmosphere that allows one to take chances is quite different from my previous work experiences. Also, the subject matter of the work that our companies do has been a revelation to me. I really had no idea before I took this job what international development or public health consulting was all about. I love researching issues such as new AIDS interventions, or compiling country information for field staff starting up a new project.

My role as a solo librarian has one negative but lots of pluses. On the down side it can be a bit isolating – not as far as interacting with staff, but with not having librarian colleagues to share ideas with. On the other hand, I don’t have to supervise anyone (!) so this is a big plus for me. Also, I am one of the few in the organization that interact with all staff. Consequently, I have a good feel for current projects and research, and have often been able to put staff with shared interests in touch with each other. Also, feedback from (hopefully happy) staff is immediate. It is satisfying to know that I am contributing to the goals of both organizations.

My outside interests include reading English literature, particularly Dickens, Trollope, and Thackeray, and travel narratives by such authors as Theroux, Thesiger, and Thubron – you’ll find them all together at Borders! Also, I enjoy trips to Cape Cod for clams (despite the recent red tide scare), and to Maine for lobsters. My wife and I are carefully planning a trip to South Africa for next summer.

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Spotlight on a Member Library

Carolina Population Center Library
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

By Lori Delaney

The Carolina Population Center (CPC) Library provides access to a wealth of resources to facilitate population-related research. Library staff members provide reference and research services, facilitate access to a variety of print-based and electronic resources, and provide trainings and technical support on searching databases and utilizing bibliographic management software programs.

The library’s primary users are CPC affiliates: CPC fellows (UNC faculty members in a range of disciplines), pre-doctoral trainees (UNC graduate students), post-doctoral trainees, and CPC staff. Because CPC is a center based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC faculty, students and staff are also users of the library. In addition, the library provides services to the general public.

The library’s collection has over 12,000 items including 6,000 monographs, approximately 6,000 reports and area files, and 200 journal titles. In May 2005, the CPC library catalog was merged with the UNC libraries union catalog. Now, the CPC collection can be searched via the main UNC library catalog available at This catalog merger also enables CPC Library staff to provide automated circulation to our borrowers.

The library’s collection focuses as completely as possible on titles in fertility, family planning, reproductive behavior (emphasis on adolescents), and population and the environment. It provides reasonably complete coverage of mortality (emphasis on infant, child, and maternal), labor force (labor migration, working women), population policy, and population dynamics.

Staff and facilities
The CPC Library is staffed by Laurie Leadbetter, Reference Librarian; Cheryl Ward, Technical Services Librarian; and Lori Delaney, Head Librarian. In addition, the Library Assistant and the Library Courier (both student assistants) provide additional services to users and help support the operations of the library.

In late 2004, the library was the focus of a refurbishing project which included new paint, carpet, reference desk and work stations for library staff, as well as new seating for library users. The library space also provides wireless access to the Internet.

The primary services provided by library staff include:

Reference: some recent questions are:

  • Please identify the marriage rates in China and in the United States from the 1950s to the present.
  • Confirm that Studies in Family Planning does not include grant numbers in their acknowledgment.
  • Can you recommend resources that provide demographic info on the populations in various U.S. cities? I’m interested in city populations broken down by age, income, and housing status. I’m also interested in projections.

Courier: The library provides a document delivery service exclusively for CPC researchers. The library courier borrows and returns books and photocopies documents from other UNC campus libraries. If an item is not held on campus, CPC library staff request the item via interlibrary borrowing. The courier aims to fulfill requests within 24 hours.

Training: Library staff members provide individualized and small group training on searching UNC catalogs and databases, especially PubMed, Sociological Abstracts and ISI Web of Science.

EndNote/ProCite/RefWorks support: CPC researchers utilize bibliographic management programs to manage their references when writing papers, articles and/or proposals. Library staff provides technical assistance in determining which program is appropriate for the researcher’s needs, and also provides guidance in building and managing the databases.

Publications database: The library staff manages and updates a database of publications written by CPC researchers since 1999. This database can be accessed at

In addition to providing a range of services on an ongoing basis, the CPC library also conducts research and reports on findings for specialized projects including scholarly communication, open access, and journals pricing in the population field.

There is truth in the saying that no two days are alike, and that every day is a new challenge!

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Happenings: Calendar of Events

Compiled by Yan Fu, University of Michigan (

25 – August
2, 2005
Joint Summer School
of the IUSSP and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research:
Frontiers of Demographic Research on Mortality and Longevity

Rostock, Germany

home page

7 – 11, 2005
6th Global Conference on Health Promotion

Bangkok, Thailand

home page

13 – 16, 2005

Sociological Association Annual Meeting

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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14 -18, 2005

Library and Information Congress: 71st IFLA General Conference and
Council: Libraries – A voyage of discovery

Oslo, Norway

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September 22,
The Second Conference on Aging in the
Americas (SCAIA): Key Issues in

Hispanic Health and Health Care Policy Research

Austin, Texas, USA

conference home page

October 7 – 10,
1st Beijing International Conference
on Obstetrics and Gynecology

Beijing, China

conference home page

November 5 – 9,
American Public Health Association,
133rd Annual Meeting

New Orleans, Louisiana

conference home page

16 – 18, 2005
The World Summit on
the Information Society, Phase Two

Tunis, Tunisia

conference home page

18 – 19, 2005
Longitudinal Studies and
Demographic Challenges of the 21st Century

Montreal, Canada

home page

December 2 – 3,
2005 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions
of Global Environmental Change

Berlin, Germany
home page

December 5 – 7,
Female Deficit in Asia: Trends and Perspectives
International conference


home page

December 4 – 9,
14th International Conference on HIV
/ AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA)

Abuja Nigeria

home page

8 – 9, 2005
Panel on Migration and Remittances in Southeast Asia

Chiangmai, Thailand

home page

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APLIC-I Call for Submissions & Volunteers

The APLIC-I Communicator Needs You

Open Positions

APLIC-I Communicator Coeditor needed After six issues of service, Nykia M. Perez, would like to pass along her duties as a coeditor of the APLIC-I newsletter, the Communicator. If we have more than one volunteer, Yan Fu, who has co-edited seven issues of the newsletter, would be happy to relinquish her duties as coeditor of the Communicator to a newcomer. Please contact either of us to volunteer and/or to find out more about the duties of a coeditor: Yan Fu ( and Nykia M. Perez (
Conference & Workshop Reporters needed to report on any conferences or workshops that our members have attended that would be of interest to other members. Please send us brief or in-depth reports for the next issue of the Communicator. E-mail the APLIC-I Communicator Editors if you are interested in assisting with the Conference Issue: &

Spotlight On Our Members” will profile a different member of APLIC-I in each issue of the APLIC-I Communicator. The member is selected from the membership list and is then interviewed by one of the Editors or members can volunteer to participate. The goal is to foster a broader appreciation of the diverse membership of the association. Do you have a story you would like to tell? Talk to us.

Spotlight On Our Libraries” will profile a different type of information organization as per our APLIC-I in each issue of the APLIC-I Communicator. A member library is selected at from the membership list and is then asked to contribute a short description of their organizations library or information services. Members can also volunteer to participate. The goal is to foster a broader appreciation of the diversity in our member’s organizations and to share the different types of work that APLIC-I members do. Did you want to know how another library does “it”? Here is where we will try to provide you with some answers.
Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you, Yan Fu and Nykia M. Perez,