Issue 84 (Winter/Spring 2009)

APLIC Communicator
Winter/Spring 2009, Issue #84

The APLIC Communicator is generally published two times yearly, in January and June, by APLIC.
Laurie Calhoun, International Center for Research on Women, 1120 20th St., NW, Ste. 500 North, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: 202-742-1226; Fax: 202-797-0020; E-mail:
Tara E. Murray, Penn State, Population Research Institute, 601 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802. Phone: 814-863-7547; Fax: 814-863-8342; E-mail:

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President’s Message

by Lori Delaney, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Innovate, adapt, change. Learn from others and implement a fresh idea or a new approach to your job or information center. These are tenets of our profession. We face opportunities – and sometimes they are challenges – often.

Recently, APLIC embraced some exciting opportunities to innovate, to adapt, to change. We now go by APLIC rather than APLIC-I, we have a new tagline that succinctly describes our organization (see story by Joann Donatiello in this newsletter) and we will soon have a new logo to incorporate those. We joined the web 2.0 world by launching a blog that, I hope, will encourage members to communicate in different ways beyond the request for articles or the occasional tricky reference question sent via the listserv (see story by Tara Murray in this newsletter).

Of course, change doesn’t always mean doing new things. Sometimes change means we stop doing things that no longer adequately serve their purpose. And this applies to the Communicator, our organization’s newsletter. You’re currently reading the 84th issue of the newsletter. We began posting the newsletter to our website in 1995 and officially changed to an electronic format with issue 62 in 1996. We utilized new communications methods then and perhaps it is time to adapt to even newer methods now in order to serve the newsletter’s primary purpose: to deliver relevant information in a timely manner to our members.

The APLIC Board of Directors is considering the value and the timeliness of the Communicator in its current format. At the board meeting in Fall 2008, we discussed whether the new blog could serve a similar purpose as the Communicator. It takes time and effort to develop and post the Communicator, and that is a factor in the discussion. I welcome your opinions on the matter. Perhaps you want to see how the blog works for a little while, that’s fine. But if you have immediate reactions, please contact me and let me know what they are.

APLIC board members, Penn State, Fall 2008 (courtesy Lori Delaney)

APLIC board members, Penn State, Fall 2008 (courtesy Lori Delaney)

There is a lot of change in the air, and I think it is exciting for APLIC members and for our organization. I am thankful for the involvement of all APLIC members as we, as a volunteer organization, address some of these new things. The board of directors is comprised of a dedicated, hard working group of people – who also have a lot of fun when they get together – and I encourage anyone who has even a smidgen of interest to contact one of us to talk about being a board member.

Speaking of change! APLIC’s conference will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan this year. Usually, our conference is held at the same location as the Population Association of America conference, which will be held in Detroit this year. Kiet Bang (Population Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University), APLIC Vice President and conference organizer this year, sent a survey to members asking whether people would prefer that the conference be held in Detroit or Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor, it is! With the help of Yan Fu (Population Studies Center, University of Michigan), the keynote speaker, tour, meeting rooms, and lodging have been swiftly organized.

This year’s conference theme is “Cultivating a Climate of Collaboration.” Myron Guttman, an expert in data preservation and sharing, will be our keynote speaker. Joan Durrance, author of the book How Libraries and Librarians Help, has agreed to give a presentation about identifying measurement outcomes and evaluating information services. And the conference will kick-off with a tour of ICPSR, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Resources. Other session topics include collaborative technologies, copyright/open access, and developing and delivering online trainings.

I hope to see you in Ann Arbor in late April!

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APLIC 2009 Conference Announcement

by Kiet Bang, Penn State

photo courtesy Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

photo courtesy Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

The 42nd Annual APLIC-I Conference will be held on April 27-29, 2009 at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The theme of the conference is “Cultivating a climate of collaboration: Seeing the forest and the trees”.

The conference program includes a keynote presentation by Myron Gutmann, Director of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Joann Durrance, Margaret Mann Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan and author of “How Libraries and Librarians Help” will present on the topic of return on investments.

Other conference sessions include:

  • Collaborative Technologies
  • Copyright and Open Access
  • Developing, Delivering and Organizing Training Online
  • Tours of The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and Ann Arbor District Library

The conference will be held in the Michigan Union at the University of Michigan. Please visit the website for more information about the conference, venue, accommodations and registration form.

Mail in registration deadline for the conference is April 1st so register early and I hope to see you in Ann Arbor!

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Come to Discover Ann Arbor

by Yan Fu, University of Michigan

photo courtesy Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

photo courtesy Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Do you know that last year the AARP magazine ranked Ann Arbor as the healthiest place to live and retire? Ok, most of you are not thinking about retirement yet. So what can Ann Arbor offer if you only have 3 days? The New York Times’ 36 hours in Ann Arbor still offers a good introduction but can use some updating, especially for people not coming for the football.

Ann Arbor is small enough for you to explore without getting lost, but big enough to offer you a rich experience. Much of the downtown Ann Arbor is the University of Michigan. To gain a sense of the central campus, walk along State Street (turn left as you exit the Michigan Union, where the APLIC conference is being held). You will see the UM Museum of Art and the stately Angel Hall to your right. The museum should be worth a visit. It has been closed for over two years for a $41.9 million transformation. I myself cannot wait to see the new UMMA when it re-opens in late March. From State Street, you can head to North University Ave. After you pass the Hill Auditorium (recently restored historic venue for performances by students and international renowned artists), you will see the Burton Memorial Tower and the Michigan League to your left and the Diag to your right. The Diag has a long history of hosting many student gatherings, including rallies, speakers and musical groups. After you pass the Diag, you will come to South University Ave. If you are heading back to the conference on State Street, you will see a “white house” to your right and the Law Quad to your left. The white house is the residence of the president of the university and the Law Quad offers beautiful Gothic architecture. While there, don’t miss the stunning law library reading room and the underground law library, which has received numerous awards for its creative use of underground space.

photo courtesy Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

photo courtesy Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

After you have seen enough to satisfy your intellectual curiosity, head to the Main Street and Kerrytown for a more relaxed stroll. Both offer a variety of boutique shops, galleries and restaurants. For food lovers, don’t miss Zingerman’s while you are at Kerrytown. It is an Ann Arbor institution. Food & Wine Magazine named Zingerman’s Delicatessen to its list of the 25 best food markets in the world. Try one of their sandwiches, rated “extraordinary” by ZAGAT 2006. If you are interested in a little bit of its history, here is a fairly interesting piece from the New York Times.

Ann Arbor has a lot to offer at night. You can settle in the 400-seat venue the Ark for some folk and roots music. You can head towards the Firefly Club for some jazz and blues. Viewing a film in the Michigan Theater is an event in itself. Constructed during the silent film era, the newly restored theatre lets you step back in history while enjoying a newly released independent film. If you are interested in a wine bar, head towards Rush Street, Vinology or Melange on Main. Arbor Brewing, Ashley’s and Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub will satisfy your craving for ales, porters, stouts, microbrews.

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APLIC-I: The Way Forward

by Joann Donatiello, Princeton University

When the APLIC-I board of directors met to plan APLIC’s 40th Annual Conference last October, we thought a lot about APLIC’s past and how to celebrate our history. We also began to realize that, while it is important to look back, it is also important to look ahead and think about APLIC’s future. We contemplated some changes to how we publicize the organization, how we communicate with members and what to call ourselves and decided we were unclear about the direction that should take. We then agreed: who better to ask than our members? So, we did just that. On Tuesday afternoon, at our conference in New York, we held a moderated discussion entitled: “APLIC-I: The Way Forward” to ask attendees their opinions about our organization and their suggestions for how to make it better. Outlined below is what we learned.

When asked what comes to mind when they think about APLIC, attendees focused on our size, the camaraderie and support they receive from one another; “small,” “networking,” “friendly,” “supportive,” “a community of friends,” and “useful” were the terms they volunteered. They also said APLIC is “focused” and “an interest group.” For at least one attendee, the APLIC listserv was what came to mind. For another, it was that our name is very long to explain.

Attendees said the purpose of APLIC was to “provide a forum for the discussion of work experiences,” that it is a “community of practice” that provides “support for discipline-specific topics and issues,” and that it “acts as an interest group, making us ‘more powerful.’” One attendee said it provides support for solo librarians.

Attendees learned about APLIC from colleagues, other members, their predecessors or their director/supervisor. When asked why they joined, about five attendees said APLIC membership was part of their job description. Others said it was to learn more about population studies librarianship while a few said it was access to resources and articles that prompted them to join. One attendee said “it was a given.”

When asked about the most valuable benefit they receive from APLIC membership, attendees mentioned the networking aspects of the organization such as meeting with colleagues and competitors in the population field, the broad range of libraries (NGOs, nonprofits, academic, etc.) and geographic areas represented and the ability to talk with other librarians about general library issues and challenges. They also mentioned the sharing of best practices and lessons learned and the stimulation of learning something new. Another benefit was the tie to PAA; it ties us to the field and increases our status in the population community. APLIC’s local chapters were also considered a positive aspect of the organization. APLIC’s small size was considered one of its strengths by attendees. It provides a “family atmosphere” in which members can hold leadership positions and have an impact soon after joining. Other strengths were the organization’s stability/longevity and its “uniqueness”.

With regard to weaknesses, attendees mention APLIC’s name: “it doesn’t reflect who we are as an organization,” “it is cumbersome,” “too long,” “not recognizable,” “the word ‘library‘ in our name is a little bit archaic.” Other weaknesses included the high turnover of members and the fact that we are “self-limiting” because we are so specialized. The challenge of accommodating overseas members, e.g. to pay us, to attend conferences, etc., was also mentioned.

When asked how supportive their institutions were of their involvement in APLIC, responses were mixed. Attendees said some institutions, particularly Academic institutions and non-profits were more supportive and that there were varying levels of support. Some pay for membership dues, conference fees, and travel, while others do not, depending upon a variety of issues such as management and available funds. Library users are supportive when they see how quickly they are able to obtain articles. Some attendees are required to write trip reports and justify their membership and conference attendance.

Attendees report varying levels of support for non-professional staff as well. Some have it written into their job descriptions while for others the support is less forthcoming. Sustaining memberships help to get library students and other staff involved. For some institutions, ensuring that the library has adequate coverage during the conference, which is prior to PAA, is an issue. Others inform users ahead of time that the library will be un-staffed.

A discussion about how to promote APLIC focused upon international members, NGOs and nonprofits with a suggestion that APLIC members promote the organization to their satellite offices abroad who can then promote us to other small libraries in their countries. However, concerns about how these members would pay for membership and attend conferences were expressed. Other attendees questioned whether we needed to promote APLIC, with one attendee asking: “Is it broken?” and others voicing that our size is fine, with about the same amount of people attending the conference every year. “It works for the people that attend.” Others questioned whether more members would necessarily mean more participation, particularly in leadership roles, by those new members.

With regard to APLIC in relation to other library organizations, attendees said SLA and APLIC complement one another and that because APLIC membership is much less expensive than SLA, merging might price folks out. Alternatively, for those who are a member of both organizations, it would lower their costs. Aside from the cost factor, however, attendees mentioned the leadership opportunities and the opportunity for communication with a broader range of members in APLIC than in SLA. Others said the affiliation with PAA is more valuable and that severing that tie might result in fewer members or less attendance at conferences. The attendees said that PAA was the appropriate affiliation for APLIC.

Discussion about APLIC’s name revealed that for some attendees the name has a high historical value because it has been around for 40 years. For others, the “I” in APLIC-I is confusing and can be dropped because “APLIC” by itself does not exclude the idea of international. Suggestions arose to keep the acronym but change the name, the meaning of the acronym or the tagline. Another thought was: “we are a group of individuals, not libraries.” Ideas about specific wording included: “drop the ‘family planning’ part of the name,” use “Population Information Specialists,” “the word ‘network’ is important,” “keep ‘population,’ it is a broad term; family planning is limiting,” “just use ‘population in its broadest sense – Association of Population Libraries,” “include ‘public health,” and “I would not exclude ‘reproductive health.’” One attendee said: “population in the name is broadly defined, as it is in PAA. It encompasses public health, sociology, statistics, etc. We don’t need to be so specific.”

Attendee comments about the logo were mostly negative: “it looks like a strikeout in ‘track changes,’” “why parallel lines?” “not much of an impression,” “too many words in the logo,” and “the color is not appealing.” Discussion of the logo reverted back to the tagline, with comments such as “the phrase limits us with reaching out to new folks or other types of members; it is very focused,” “‘population and public health’ or ‘international development’ might be a better idea,” and “it must be catchy and should allude to who we are as an organization.” One attendee said because our name is so long, a different format (such as round) might be difficult to read or use. Another suggested that we have different logos for different functions: graphic; graphic and tagline; graphic, tagline and name in full.

Comments about the current website were mixed. Attendees said the appearance of the site was in need of updating because it was “old fashioned,” “static,” and “not very exciting”; however, they were more positive about the content, commenting that the membership list and past conference presentations were useful and that the site met their needs. A question arose as to whether the site was functional for overseas members with regard to bandwidth. A few suggestions for improving or updating the site were mentioned:

  • Have a blog or discussion board for our members
  • Build into the website sections based on subjects
  • More information about member libraries
  • Put the newsletter online in the revised site
  • Add a search engine to navigate around our site
  • Have templates on the site to make it easier for members to contribute (for example, a “meeting highlights)
  • Make use of RSS feeds
  • Skype voice over internet protocol and Unyte.

Attendees were positive about the newsletter. Some favorite portions were the spotlights on both member libraries and librarians. Those who have worked on the newsletter said it was difficult finding volunteers to work on it and contribute. One attendee suggested having a dedicated staff person to work on it. Other suggestions were to spotlight a researcher (not just our members) or a particular event such as continuing education courses and conferences, both APLIC as well as non-APLIC. Another suggestion was to have a regular column titled “how I used what I learned at APLIC in my organization.”

A discussion about the listservs elicited a variety of opinions about how many lists we need: two (the present scenario) or three (one for APLIC and resources, one for dupes and one for requests). Some do not like or need to see all of the article requests. The suggestion for a digest option was given.

The discussion about the annual conferences was abbreviated due to time constraints. The only comment offered was in support of the conferences’ tie to PAA; “I would not have come to PAA if APLIC-I wasn’t here.”

Overall, the session was productive and provided valuable information to the incoming board. Many thanks to those who participated.

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New Tagline for APLIC!

by Joann Donatiello, Princeton University

As a follow up to the APLIC: The Way Forward session, at the 2008 board meeting in New Orleans the Board of Directors established an ad-hoc Brand Identity Committee to proceed with updating our public identity. The goal was to develop a look that would more appropriately reflect who we are and what we do. The first mission of the Committee was to propose at least three new taglines that could be added to our acronym. At the Fall board meeting in State College, PA, the committee presented five taglines, from which the board chose two and decided to have the membership vote to make the final selection. In October, APLIC members were surveyed to decide between two choices: “APLIC – networking to provide population information globally” and “APLIC – a global network of population information professionals.” With 86% of the vote, the winner was “APLIC – a global network of population information professionals.” While we will be using this new name and tagline to operate publicly, our official name, on our articles of incorporation and for legal purposes, will continue to be the Association for Population/Family Planning Libraries and Information Centers – International.

The next step in updating our look is to develop a new logo. The Brand Identity Committee has begun soliciting bids from design professionals to assist us with this process.

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Keeping in Touch with the APLIC Blog

by Tara Murray, Penn State

APLIC BlogAPLIC has a new way of keeping in touch with our members: the APLIC Blog.

We’ll use the APLIC Blog to keep our members up to date with the latest about APLIC, libraries, information services, population, reproductive health, and other topics of interest.

The APLIC Blog will supplement our other communication channels (the APLIC Communicator and discussion lists).

You can read the blog on the web, or subscribe to our RSS feed. If you’re not sure what RSS is or how to use it, see this guide from BBC News.

The blog was created by the APLIC Communications Committee (Tara Murray, Kiet Bang, Laurie Calhoun, and Nykia Perez).

Current contributors include the members of the Communications Committee, and APLIC President Lori Delaney. We’d love to have company – if you’re an APLIC member and would like to contribute as a blogger, please let me know.

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