The activist health sciences librarian

Gerald (Jerry) Perry

Abstract


At the remove of 2019, it is hard for many to imagine the sense of apocalypse that was palpable throughout the gay community during the 1980s and much of the 1990s. My professional career was launched at the height of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic, and at the time, saving lives through librarianship was my mission. This Janet Doe Lecture presents my personal story of activism and advocacy as a lens through which to consider the larger story of activism around social justice issues for the Medical Library Association, by groups such as the Relevant Issues Section, now the Social Justice Section, and by the work of past Doe Lecturers Rachael K. Anderson, AHIP, FMLA, and Gerald Oppenheimer. It is also the story of an association that has at times been deeply conflicted about the role of such activism in our niche of librarianship. With anchors in poetry and prose, this is a story of hope through justice, conveying a message of the essentialness of our work as librarians and health information professionals to the mission of saving lives.

Keywords


Janet Doe Lecture; Medical Library Association; Activism; Health Sciences Librarians

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2020.859

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