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Interview with Kristine Alpi, OHSU Library

Photograph of Kristine Alpi

Kristine Alpi, MLS, MPH, PhD, AHIP, University Librarian, OHSU Library

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into librarianship?

My first library job was as a shelver in my neighborhood branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.  My education in art history, Spanish and Italian at Indiana University led me to working in the Fine Arts and Slide Libraries, but an exciting day of field shadowing at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library seduced me over to health sciences librarianship.

What is an achievement in your career of which you’re particularly proud?

My first solo-authored journal article, Expert searching in public health, indexed in PubMed, the largest biomedical database in the world from the National Library of Medicine is also my most cited paper with 70 citations.  I love seeing that same excitement in the student and new faculty authors with whom I publish.

What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about your institution?

OHSU Library serves learners statewide, from patients and families to those pursuing advanced certifications.  We partner with several Oregon universities on joint academic programs and since our 3,000 students are mostly graduate students, we might be the Library serving your recently graduated alumni.   Even though we are Oregon Health & Science University, we are very interested in the humanities and last April our Library hosted a Humanities month with a poetry and art contest.  For 2020, we hope to spread these activities over the year. We are also passionate about making the history of health in the Pacific Northwest more accessible. We would love to collaborate on building and exposing collections to learners and researchers who would benefit from access to primary source materials.

What has been the best thing that has happened to you since you started your position?

It was an honor to present at both the Oregon Library Association-Support Staff Division Conference and the Emporia State University Commencement ceremony.  I treasured these opportunities to engage with library staff and students and share what I have learned from visiting 30+ libraries in OR/WA in my first eight months here.

What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as a library director?

My perspective has changed as I moved across regions, as much advocacy is local.  Understanding advocacy for public libraries and school libraries in the same region is an important part of the library advocacy ecosystem.  I always talk about the key role of school and public libraries in preparing students to want to be part of academia, and then the complementary role of public and academic libraries in serving the needs of the whole learner.   Advocacy for maintaining robust and transparent resource sharing among libraries of all types is a major priority.  In the face of electronic book publishing models that prohibit sharing, and the shift to purchasing almost entirely ebooks in some disciplines, this is a major concern.

Anything else you’d like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?

I am excited to travel all over Oregon and visit libraries and meet library staff, so please invite me to visit and learn from your teams.

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