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1999 Cunningham Fellow Timothy Shola Abolarinwa

After much difficulty, our 1999 Cunningham Fellow, Timothy Shola Abolarinwa successfully received his visa for his fellowship and traveled to the United States in late May. He began his fellowship at the Indiana University (IU)–Indianapolis. He is very grateful and happy to be in the United States at last, and he is looking forward to meeting with as many health sciences librarians as possible.

Some of his experiences in Indianapolis are listed below. He arrived just before all the race fans converged here for the Indianapolis 500 Race and rested well in his own apartment at the International House on campus. Timothy worked on searching for and upgrading URL links to medical journals under the able tutelage of Rick Ralston, and was eager to learn as much as possible about Internet use in the medical library. His institution will be getting their first live Internet connection when he returns to Nigeria. Timothy was pleased to join the library staff for its Third Annual Memorial Day picnic, and he is enjoying American food.

Over the weekend, he joined Carole Gall's family on Saturday for a cookout, and he was interested in learning about the urban rehabilitation of housing. Timothy wanted to know about churches for Sunday, and joined Carole's family for church where a couple of the members are from Nigeria. They invited him to a Sunday evening celebration of the May 29 inauguration of the democratically elected president of Nigeria; so, he met many people from Nigeria and Africa in Indianapolis between 8:00 p.m. and midnight on Sunday. Timothy was very excited about this election, so it was important that he was able to celebrate it. For an update on Nigeria, see the U.S. State Department's Website.

Thomas R. Pickering,
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations,
Washington, DC, March 11, 1999

Timothy, along with the fourth-year medical students, took a medical clerkship class, which he attended in the mornings. The objective of the one-week class (part of the IU School of Medicine curriculum taught by our librarians) is to get an overview of current medical information, best-evidence medicine introduction and techniques, MEDLINE searching techniques, use of fulltext and links to fulltext, table of contents and other services and techniques for using the medical literature.

Timothy then moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where he was hosted by Elizabeth Connor and the staff at the Medical University of South Carolina. The associate director, Anne Robichaux, took Timothy to the beautiful, new Charleston County Library (CCL) on Calhoun Street.

Here are Anne's words:

We had a good tour of CCL. I introduced him to Ken Gilbert, head of reference, and they had a good, though short, interchange. We went through the periodicals section and actually found one book on Nigeria in the reference section, but he enjoyed looking through and talking about some of the areas and buildings depicted. We walked through the market about the time folks were closing up shop, so he may want to go back and buy t-shirts for kids—though he would intersperse waiting until he was ready to leave the country before buying.... He also mentioned wanting to find a camera bag for a video camera he has at home.... We went in a few stores, walked through Charleston Place and up and down parts of King, and ended up at the Boathouse for supper on East Bay. Too noisy, but good food. In fact, he said his meal most closely resembled what he had at home (he likes to cook I found out) corn/crab chowder, and shrimp & sausage with grits. He really seemed to enjoy it.

On Tuesday, Timothy spent a great deal of time with reference librarians Peggy Mauldin and Marcia Reinhardt, learning the ins and outs of the Internet, enjoying e-mail messages from various International Cooperation Section members, and marveling at how quickly his colleagues told him about the former Cunningham Fellow from Nigeria, Funmi Akhigbe.

Last night, Peggy Mauldin took Timothy to see Star Wars, the first movie he has seen in many years.

Today, Timothy met with our chief cataloger, Richard Syracuse, to talk shop. He lunched with several staffers from Public Services and Education. During lunch, Dr. Edwards, the president of the university nodded at him in a friendly way. Our director had introduced them on Monday. Right now Timothy is attending an orientation session we have scheduled for minority high school students.

Because one of our public services faculty, Dylan Holmes, is active in providing outreach to historically black colleges and universities in South Carolina, tomorrow morning, Timothy is going to accompany him to Morris College in Sumter, SC. When Timothy returns by midafternoon, Alice Hambright is going to take Timothy on a narrated walking tour of the city, and then a number of faculty and staff will meet Timothy and Alice at a Charleston Place piano bar to hear Michael Murray play piano. Timothy met Michael Murray on Sunday at my house, and expressed an interest in hearing him play.

Our consumer health and outreach librarian, Bobbie Carlson, took Timothy Abolarinwa around the Charleston Neck area yesterday, a part of the community in which our university has established and staffed clinics, and planned innovative outreach to disadvantaged populations. Some of our library's outreach efforts have provided Internet training and experience for middle school students, welfare-to-work women, nursing home residents, public library users, and African-Methodist Episcopal churches.

The highlight of an excursion to the piano bar at Charleston Place was watching Timothy's face while pianist Michael Murray regaled us with jazz standards plus a special final number entitled, Nigeria. It sounded like a crazy Randy Newman song with most words rhyming (barely) with Nigeria, tomato, and equator. The performance was brilliant, touching, and well-received by the medical university contingent and the local crowd.

We will continue to keep you updated about the fellowship as it progresses....

But in the meantime, here are some candid pictures of Timothy!

Timothy continued his travels around the United States with his next stop at Wayne State University in Detroit. The comments immediately below were made by Timothy's host in Detroit-Keir Reavie:

Timothy moved into university housing and we stocked his refrigerator with groceries. I would like to thank David Boilard and the staff of the Mulford Library at the Medical College of Ohio for showing Timothy and me around the library and giving us an overview of the OhioLink project. We attended the annual summer lunch of the Metropolitan Detroit Medical Libraries Group, so Timothy had a chance to meet numerous medical librarians from the region.

We had dinner in downtown downtown Detroit and Timothy was amazed to see Canada just across the river. We visited the waterfront so that he could take a few pictures. Unfortunately, Detroit does not have the nicest downtown, but Timothy explained that it reminded him a little of downtown Lagos.

Timothy was able to contact several Nigerians in the Detroit area and enjoyed having dinner with them and getting together with others this weekend. Timothy enjoyed his visit to Detroit and left without any problems on June 21 for his stay in Gainesville, Florida.

Lenny Rhine, Gainesville, FL reports:

Timothy visited Cedar Key, a small Gulf Coast fishing town. His two-week stay in Gainesville proved to be worthwhile on the professional and interpersonal level. We feel we've been able to schedule things at a slower pace and this gave Timothy time to work on his projects. We made several small trips (the Florida Natural History Museum, Harn Art Museum, and University of Florida's Africana Collection) balanced with training sessions and project activities. Thanks to Keir and Elizabeth's comments plus Timothy's input, we were able to tailor the training to his needs.

Timothy went to a local church and spent the day with some of the local Nigerian contingent. During week of the 4th of July, we scheduled a trip to our branch in Jacksonville, a weekend day at the Atlantic ocean beach and 4th of July fireworks. In terms of work, he's spent more time on bibliographic information software, Internet searching, and brief introductions to HTML and Ariel. He would like to continue his learning in all these areas especially since he is compiling MEDLINE bibliographies for the researchers at his institute and, ultimately, would like to develop a Website.

Timothy also visited our branch library in Jacksonville plus several other medical libraries in that region. He also had time for a visit to an aquifer fed spring and will visit the Atlantic coast tomorrow. We've also sampled Tex-Mex and BBQ food and Timothy found both to his liking.

Eve-Marie Lacroix, NLM-Baltimore, MD reports:

Timothy is here at NLM and seems to be enjoying himself - in addition to visiting parts of NLM, he will go to the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and (at his request) the White House. He is particularly interested in working on a Web page for his library and we are fitting that in.

On Friday afternoon Timothy was off to the National Agricultural Library, and spending the weekend with his friend Funmi Akhigbe. Timothy had a whirlwind week here in the steamy Washington area. As others have done, we did adjust the plan for his week here at NLM.

He spent time with reference and DOCLINE/ILL, the Web group, with the database and indexing staff, History of Medicine and Visible Human staff. Early in his program, he had learned to use Pro-Cite and HTML, and wanted to continue to work on his projects - we certainly obliged. He visited the White House, Library of Congress, and spent evenings with several staff. Nancy Roderer, who organized his detailed schedule, took him on an evening tour of the monuments.

I have to say that Timothy had some long days, and that was pretty tough. Much as we tried, there was not a lot of free time in his schedule.

Victoria Pifalo, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign

Lists the schedule for Timothy Shola Abolarinwa:

July 26, Monday: Afternoon arrival via van to Sherman Hall, Late afternoon walking tour of campus and campus town
July 27, Tuesday: 9:30 a.m. Orientation to Graduate School of Library and Information Science
July 28, Wednesday: 9:00-10:00 a.m. Africana Library and Library and Information Science Library
July 29, Thursday: 9:30 a.m. Illinois Researcher Information Service (IRIS) and lunch with Marianna Tax Choldin, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs
July 30, Friday: 9:30-11:00 a.m. Digital Imaging Initiative and Digital Cultural Heritage Community Project with Nuala Bennett
August 2, Monday: 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Carle Hospital Library and lunch
August 3, Tuesday: 10:00-11:30 a.m. PrairieNet with Karen Fletcher
August 4, Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Lincoln Trail Libraries System with Brenda Pacey
August 5, Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to Chicago visit to MLA headquarters

Timothy returned to Nigeria on August 9 as scheduled. He met with us at MLA headquarters on Thursday, August 5, and expressed his thanks for the fellowship. Timothy learned so much from all of his hosts and colleagues and appreciated the personal contacts. He was able to work on a Website design for his home library and was eager to get back to work and share all he has learned with his Nigerian colleagues.

Thanks to all of the Cunningham hosts for such a successful fellowship!