Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Evans

In celebration of APLIC-I 50th Anniversary, we are posting profiles of many of our retired former members.  We are also seeking current contact information for colleagues who should be appearing in this blog or attending our Chicago Conference April 24-26 2017.  Please contact Jean Sack with former member information / your profile!

I was working at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill when I first joined APLIC. I began at CPC in November 1993 and went to my first APLIC conference that spring in Miami. Jean Sack took me under her wing although she was also quite new, and made sure I met everybody and felt thoroughly connected. To this day, years out of the population arena, I still think of that conference as an exceptional example of collegial fellowship.

APLIC reinforced my inclination to think of the future. I still think one of the best things we did during my time in APLIC was to run an internet room during at least one PAA conference (in New Orleans) so attendees could check email, get help with internet questions, etc. It seems so “old hat” now that everybody has mobile devices and can be online anywhere anytime, but in 1996, that was definitely not the case. Most people didn’t have laptops or, if they did, they didn’t carry them around at conferences. Wireless was nonexistent. We arranged for computers, hardwired connections, and staffed the room during the entire PAA conference. It was great to work with a group of people willing to take a chance, to push the envelope, and to do something innovative to meet the needs of the people we served back on our home turfs.

It’s about people.
Smart, thoughtful, sharing people.
No group is better.

How do you envisage our information field progressing into the next 50 years?  Augmented reality and virtual reality may finally have a real impact on the non-entertainment world. I envision easier ways to visualize data in 3D with the ability to interactively manipulate it. How will libraries be involved in creating, storing, analyzing, accessing 3D data sets? (And make them retrievable?) Imagine having someone ask about the impact of climate change on the population in an island country and be able to pop the person into a virtual environment where he or she can experience the changes and alter variables to see how the impact might change?

What fascinating places, jobs, life-experiences have you had in the years since you were an APLIC-I member?
When I left CPC, the two things I knew I would miss most were my staff and APLIC. I was absolutely right. But I’ve had a great time since then getting deeply involved in teaching and learning technology, first at UNC and now at Duke. My current job is to explore new and emerging technologies and how they might be applied to higher education teaching and learning, and I love it. But I still miss the people I met in APLIC. They’re the best!


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