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ICS REFLECTIONS, 2014-2015

Dear friends and fellow ICS members,

It has been an eventful few months since MLA Annual Meeting in May 2014 – both in our own lives and, significantly, around the world.  As I have been considering work, life and global connections and ICS in these last few months, a few specific words have come to mind:  Inclusion; Advocacy; Awareness….

Inclusion

ICS members are some of the most active MLA members — and some of the most active librarians — in our profession.  I think it is time for our members to highlight their own work and activities related to global health — be it half a world away around the world or in our workplaces.  We are all doing work to be proud of.  To that end, ICS will be working on an interactive Google map to provide a venue for all ICS members to share their work and communicate how they have made an impact in global health and in areas of the world that they have impacted  — through visiting locations or by the significant activities at their home institutions.  We do not have to travel a world away to make a global difference.  We are all players in a diverse and global environment.  Let’s make some noise about it!

Advocacy

ICS members have advocated for open access, bridging the digital divide and providing instructional support to libraries and librarians around the world through the Sister Library Program and our support to Cunningham fellows, among other initiatives.  We have been, we are and we will continue our role as advocates.   We devise strategies to support the work of developing libraries and to advocate for the breaking boundaries and the bridging of disparities through the power of information.  Our work and responsibility is one we all take seriously and must continue to keep at the forefront of our profession.  Let this be one of our objectives as ICS members.  For instance, we need to keep our ear to the ground and encourage the use of services such as the NLM Emergency Access Initiative, bring attention of the needs of libraries in developing countries, encourage the sharing of information resources on open access portals, and talk to publishers about philanthropic funding and increasing access of resources.

Awareness

It is an understatement to say that so much going on in the world today.  Global public health, health policy, socioeconomic issues, the impact of political strife…..the list goes on.  As librarians and information professionals, we have a responsibility to build and maintain awareness among those around us — and beyond our boundaries.  The last few months has brought the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and now in other parts of the word, Syrian and Iraqi refugees flooding camps in surrounding countries, new flu strains, and a disastrous flood leading to fear of water-borne disease in Kashmir — just to name a few global incidents….   The need to build awareness among society and to share resources with those impacted is a part of our profession. I propose that we keep each other informed through a series of blog “essays” on world events in a health context shared in combination with a list of relevant resources.   World events are personal to many of us — either due to our places of origins or what touches our hearts.  Building awareness and sharing information is certainly not without emotion.  I think that is one of the reasons I am proud to be a part of ICS.

These are just a few of the issues and thoughts that have come to my mind for us to discuss and reflect upon as the International Cooperation Section of the Medical Library Association and as global citizens.  There are always others.  I would like to know what you think.

In a mood to reflect,

Gurpreet Kaur Rana, ICS Chair, 2014-2015

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