View from the 5th – April 2013


April 2013 – New Horizons

Carol Jenkins

As I wrote in the first issue of View from the 5th, we chose the name for this e-newsletter because the changing view from my fifth-floor office “is testament to the expansion of learning, teaching, research and patient care in the health sciences at Carolina.” From my perch I have a view of the hustle and bustle that characterizes activity in all of our Health Affairs schools and clinical facilities. I have felt connected in one more way to the critically important work being done by the faculty, staff and students all around us. I am constantly reminded that the Health Sciences Library’s central location helps us support this vital work by all that we do.

On June 30, 2013, I will retire as the Director of the Health Sciences Library. I will give up this awesome view with mixed feelings as I look back on 26 years of growth, accomplishments and friendships. Over the next few months there will be time to look back on those accomplishments and show my appreciation for the friendships. I hope to share some time with as many of you as possible.

But it’s the new horizons for the Library and our users that I want to focus on in this issue. For the past year I have helped lead a process to create a new University Libraries strategic plan, the first joint libraries plan to be written on this campus We’ll share the final version in the next View from the 5th. For now, I’m excited to describe some of the key concepts in our 2013-2018 Strategic Plan.

The other stories in this issue – how the HSL supports a popular health topics radio show and the new library roles being forged to support team, translational and interdisciplinary science – illustrate why we need a strategic plan that readies us for new roles. . These are not stories that you would have read about the HSL as little as five years ago. And no doubt, by the time 2018 rolls around, the Class of 2013 will be amazed at what else has changed.

As I move toward new horizons of my own, I couldn’t be more proud of the important and innovative work being done in the Library today; and more excited about what the future holds. I sincerely hope you are excited too; because, if the HSL is to respond to all the needs on the health affairs horizon, strong donor support will be critical. Thank you if your generosity has already been directed toward us this year and thank you again for all your support in the past. Your investment in HSL, like mine, has helped put us in the forefront in helping our users teach and learn more effectively, produce groundbreaking research, and connect people everywhere with knowledge to improve health.


Carol Jenkins

Director, UNC Health Sciences Library

P.S. If you want to make your next gift now, please consider using our online giving option.

In this Issue:

^ to top

Carol Jenkins, Long-time HSL Director, to Retire


The past 26 years have brought unprecedented growth and dynamic change for the health affairs community at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). During that period, the UNC Health Sciences Library (HSL) has responded at every turn to the expanding and evolving information needs of its users under the extraordinary leadership of Carol Jenkins. Only the third full time professional librarian in its history to lead the Health Sciences Library, Jenkins will retire on June 30, 2013, but the legacy of her leadership will live on in the Carolina community for years to come.

“Carol leaves a legacy of leadership and innovation,” said University Librarian and Associate Provost for Libraries Sarah Michalak. “Her outstanding career and tireless passion have advanced the provision of health information on campus, across the state, around the country, and the world.”

Jenkins’ departure is significant for a campus community she has served in so many ways. Indicative of her reputation and the respect of her peers, Jenkins recently has received two prestigious professional awards: the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries’ Cornerstone Award in 2010 and the Medical Library Association’s Marcia C. Noyes Award in 2011. Both awards were for her outstanding contributions to the health sciences library profession. She is a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals and a Lifetime Fellow of the Medical Library Association.

In an email to HSL librarians and staff Jenkins wrote, “One of the accomplishments of which I am most proud is being able to recruit and work with such a wonderful staff.” Under her leadership, Jenkins and her staff have made HSL one of the foremost health sciences libraries in the nation, known for its excellent collections and innovative services to its users.

The HSL has been known for its innovation throughout Jenkins’ tenure as Director. In the 1980’s they were among the first, if not the first, academic health sciences library to create a separate team of librarians dedicated to providing information management instruction. In those days teaching students and faculty to develop search strategies and perform their own online searches of MEDLINE and other databases was a new role for libraries. But it still required users coming to the Library to perform searches using CDROMs. Later, in the 1990’s HSL became one of the first libraries in the country to provide networked access to these databases directly to users’ desktop computers anywhere on campus and at home. In 2001 HSL launched the AHEC Digital Library (ADL), to ensure that online books, journals and databases would be available to health professionals and students throughout NC and beyond. The ADL is still an innovative service today, providing a wide range of information resources and support, and offering cost saving benefits to its members. In (2000’s) HSL worked in partnership with the National Library of Medicine to develop NC Health Info, a unique web database of authoritative health sources and local health resources for the public that became a model for consumer health information systems in dozens of states. In addition to these trend-setters, Jenkins oversaw an extensive renovation of the centrally located library building that concluded in 2005, adding spaces and technology to meet the changing expectations and needs of library users.

In 2010 the HSL was administratively joined with the University Library. Jenkins has co-chaired a new joint strategic planning process for the libraries that will focus on attaining a new shared vision for library services for the 21st century (see related story below).

Jenkins has provided distinguished leadership on campus and in her profession. Her honors and accomplishments include serving as president of two national library organizations and leading two programs to identify and mentor future library leaders, as well as being a founding member of BRIDGES, a program begun at UNC to prepare women for academic administrative leadership.

View Jenkins’ other professional accomplishments

Jim Curtis, Deputy Director, will serve as Interim Director until a replacement is named.

^ to top

New 2013-2018 Strategic Plan for UNC Libraries

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), its faculty members and administrators, its students and staff, are poised for great change. UNC is helping to transform the nature of teaching, learning, and research. The University’s reach now extends from Chapel Hill to far corners of the globe. It is building partnerships with industry, business, and social and health services. Advances in technology, developments in pedagogy, and deep commitments to tackle the world’s big problems in innovative ways are driving change for students, faculty, and staff.

When the UNC Libraries, which includes the Health Sciences Library (HSL), began to formulate a strategic plan for the years 2013-2018, key questions emerged that need to be answered:

  • What changes are taking place in the academy and in society?
  • How will they shape the work and ambitions of the people who rely on library collections, services, facilities, and technology?
  • Most importantly, what unique skills, knowledge, and resources can the Libraries bring to bear that will, in their own right, be transformative?

To find the answers, a strategic planning team, co-led by Carol Jenkins in the final months of her 26 years directing the HSL, conducted dozens of interviews and focus groups with UNC faculty members; graduate students and undergraduates; University staff and administrators; friends of the library; and UNC community leaders. They looked outward to analyses of societal trends and developments in higher education, and at the innovations of our peer libraries. And they looked inward, asking Libraries’ staff to reflect deeply on organizational strengths and weaknesses, and on opportunities that they have encountered in their work.

As a result, three areas of emphasis were identified that set the Libraries on the move toward new horizons.. A critical aspect of all three areas of emphasis is the conviction that we must move from seeing the Libraries’ roles as passive (providing buildings and collections) to seeing the Libraries as active partners engaged in achieving success in all aspects of the University’s mission. We will continue this transition by first, expecting to see the Libraries involved at each stage of the research process and throughout the teaching and learning continuum. Secondly, we will focus more intensively on ways to use the knowledge base of our excellent collections to enrich and improve peoples’ lives everywhere. Third, we will develop the Libraries’ capacity to succeed in these areas by investing in our collections, facilities, technology and staff to be well equipped for facing the future.

Each area will be accompanied by a number of clearly stated goals. The HSL and all its partner libraries will be committed to developing measures that will document progress and that reflect the value the Libraries add to the work of the University and the welfare of the state for all to see.

This vision is an ambitious one that will continue to grow and take shape well into the future. We sincerely hope that our supporters will be as excited about it as we are, and follow our progress in the coming years. We plan to release the full plan and its supporting documents on May 1, 2013 and will highlight the plan in the next issue of View from the 5th.

^ to top

Providing New Level of Support for Research Teams

In 2011, the Health Sciences Library (HSL) set a goal to articulate and communicate an expanded role for its services and resources that positively impacts faculty and students in health and biosciences interdisciplinary research and teaching programs. The HSL’s goal was driven, in part, by a similar emphasis articulated in UNC-Chapel Hill’s (UNC) 2011 Academic Plan.

Health and Natural Sciences Team

Health and Natural Sciences Team

Building on what the HSL has learned through collaborations with campus units, a Health and Natural Sciences Team (HNST) was formed. Team members include librarians supporting pharmacy, bioinformatics, translational science, math/physics, biology and chemistry. An initial product from the team was identifying services that are currently being offered by approximately 36 librarians surveyed, as well as services they would like to offer given the time and resources. Services were mapped to different stages in the research lifecycle, illustrating the librarian services available for each stage in the cycle. This resulted in this poster, which was presented at the opening of the new Genome Sciences Building.

Currently, the HNST is composed of six librarians and several library science graduate students across two university libraries. A primary objective in forming the Health and Life Sciences Team was to standardize some of the one-off services being offered and/or piloted to specific units on campus. The underlying idea is that while each librarian possesses advanced skills in one or more niche areas such as data management, grant funding identification, and scholarly poster design, all can field basic inquiries in any of the service areas in the research lifecycle. By basing the cohesive service set on the research lifecycle, the team is poised to be a partner through the entire process, rather than at the bookends of the research (literature searching and publication). The process of triage and referral also allows a smaller number of librarians to provide a wider range of services.

While uptake of HNST services is only beginning to grow, this service initiative has garnered significant support from key constituencies like the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences and strengthened team librarians’ collaborative working relationships with scientists at UNC as a whole.

^ to top

Library Service Enhance Radio Show Content and Outreach

Barbara Renner

Barbara Renner

The Health Sciences Library is committed to exploring new roles for librarians and staff. As a result of, when a radio show needed information assistance the skills of our librarians were brought to bear. HSL’s outreach proved successful, as evidenced when Barbara Renner, liaison librarian to the Department of Allied Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, was honored to receive the University’s Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award for her work with the YOUR HEALTH radio program. The Robert E. Bryan Award recognizes individual students, staff and organizations at UNC-Chapel Hill for extraordinary public service and engagement. Barbara accepted the award on behalf of the team of librarians who help support this service.

The YOUR HEALTH radio show is a weekly, one-hour consumer health radio program that airs in Chapel Hill and is produced by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Family Medicine. Each show features a guest interview on a topic of interest to the general public, a review of recent research of practical interest, and answers to questions submitted by listeners of the show or viewers of the show’s blog. The show, which averages more than 30,000 over-the-air listeners per week, has recently covered topics such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), bullying, policies to prevent gun violence and childhood obesity.

Offering expertise in social media and web design, HSL librarians have helped the show design and implement an interactive blog/website. The blog links listeners and blog visitors to health information by directly connecting community members with the show, the show’s social media, audio archives, and resource links. Users can also use the blog to comment on shows, suggest topics, and submit questions to the hosts for the “House Calls” segment.

The blog, which has been viewed in over 125 countries, is also used to announce upcoming shows and to provide a way for users to access audio archives along with augmented content provided by librarians for each show. This content includes links to online resources for consumers on the topics covered during the show. A team of librarians rotates weekly, listening to the show and identifying all topics discussed. Using their expertise in finding and evaluating consumer health information, they identify appropriate websites for consumers that are linked to the corresponding show’s blog post.

Additionally, librarians worked to make content on the blog easily findable, employing a special vocabulary developed for health consumers to index each topic in each show, so that users can search by topic, in addition to date or name of the main guest interviewed. Librarians helped incorporate the use of additional social media (including Facebook and Twitter) into the website and have assisted the show’s staff with the finding and appropriate use and attribution of photos and other media.

The show helps promote the role and availability of the HSL, our librarians, and our outreach service, NC Health Info (NCHI), to the community as resources available to anyone.. Both the show and the blog/website provide direct links to the library and NCHI. The HSL role in YOUR HEALTH is another innovative way for us to put our information expertise into the hands of people who use it to improve health.

Without question, by partnering librarians with the physician hosts and the public health-trained producer to augment on-air information and improve internet access to the show and this information, the HSL is increasing its ability to meet the health information needs of members of our local community, the State of North Carolina, and beyond.

^ to top

Last modified: 01/19/21