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Library Hosts Visitors from Russia

By Eddy Ball
January 2010

Library and Information Services Branch Chief Dav Robertson
Robertson, above, stands by the library's compact shelving - one of many advancements in the library's quest to evolve as a personalized information source for NIEHS scientists. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

A line of seven women stands in front of a rack of library books
The visitors were especially interested in the technological advances that helped the NIEHS library become more efficient as it became more compact. (Photo courtesy of Tatiana Podvetelnikova)

An outdoor photograph of Kostroma
Situated about 250 miles northeast of Moscow, Kostroma, which was founded in 1152, takes pride in its traditional Russian architecture and culture. (Photo courtesy of Tatiana Podvetelnikova and delegation)

As part of their Sister Cities sponsored visit to Durham, a delegation of librarians from Kostroma, Russia spent several hours on Nov. 20 at the NIEHS Library( with Library and Information Services Branch Chief Dav Robertson and his colleagues. Robertson described the group's visit as "a chance for us to reach out to the Durham community" and "an opportunity for them [the visitors] to learn about the ways we provide personalized, specialized services to our scientists here at NIEHS."

In addition to their tour of the library, the librarians and their coordinator, retired Durham County public librarian Anne Berkley, attended an overview of NIEHS research presented by John Peterson, a public information specialist with the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and a lab tour conducted by NIEHS Reproductive Medicine Group Biologist Wendy Jefferson, Ph.D.

Delegation tours Durham-area libraries

The visitors participated in the independent Open World Leadership Center( Exit NIEHS at the Library of Congress, which enables emerging European leaders to experience American-style democracy at the local level. During their visit, members of the delegation stayed with families in the Durham area who volunteered their hospitality to the Sister Cities of Durham program.

With the objective of learning about public access to government information in various types of libraries, the Russians visited libraries at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Riverside High School, Durham County Library, the State Library of North Carolina, and the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. Organizers chose NIEHS as the only special library included on the tour.

The delegates also met with the staff of Representative David Price's Durham office and officials of the Durham Chamber of Commerce, and visited Durham City Hall.

Now in its tenth year, Open World strengthens international communication

Since its establishment in 1999, the Open World program has served more than 12,000 participants hosted in all 50 states. Delegates range from politicians and non-profit directors to journalists and government administrators.

According to Robertson, the delegation's experience at NIEHS sparked interest in a possible future exchange involving visits to NIEHS and the neighboring Environmental Protection Agency by people from Kostroma who have an interest in environmental issues.

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