Elizabeth Wallace, the Collections Librarian for the Science & Technology and Business Libraries at the University of Alberta, is dedicated to fostering and building international partnerships with libraries abroad.
Their Library International Relations Office (LIRO) has partnerships with over twenty international libraries. These partnerships involve training and workshops, digitizing unique collections, and even book exchange programs. As Liaison to India and Nepal, Elizabeth works directly with libraries in those countries.
In Fall, 2013, Elizabeth visited the Patan Academy of Health Sciences Library (PAHS), close to Kathmandu in Nepal. A fairly new medical school was created there to teach rural medicine and recruit students from the rural community. These rural communities have high mortality and morbidity rates compared to the urban communities in Nepal.
Drastically underfunded, PAHS receives only 5% of its funding from the Nepalese Government and it relies primarily on donations and tuition fees. The library is manned by a single librarian, Macha Shakya, and has a small and dated collection of print books and journals - choosing to spend almost all of its limited budget on medical textbooks for their students. Through the World Health Organization's Hinari program, the library and its students do have access to a number of important medical electronic journals and resources. Without a library website, these resources were only accessible on-campus and going severely underutilized.
Springshare donated a LibGuides system to the PAHS Library in September, 2014 and with funding from the University of Alberta's Office of Global Health in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, Macha flew to Canada to learn LibGuides and build a library website.
Since the website was launched in November, the PAHS LibGuides library website has almost 2,000 hits.
PAHS students working in rural medical clinics in mountainous regions now have access to their Library's website and important medical journals - that were previously unavailable from off-campus.