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Shane Godbolt (3)

29 November, 2019

I first met Shane through the charity Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) in 2002, having recently returned from a 2-year Voluntary Services Overseas placement as a hospital librarian in Sri Lanka. The experience of working in Sri Lanka changed my perception and I saw that Phi’s work sought to redress many of the inequalities I had seen. I joined Phi as a trustee and then later, when Shane became Phi Director in 2006, I took on the role of Chair for 2 years.

I cannot begin to quantify how much I have learnt from working alongside Shane. This includes the value of practical, grassroots projects co-designed with local partners; the mutual learning that comes from delivering training overseas or from hosting international colleagues coming to the UK. Phi’s work was underpinned by three guiding principles:

1. Promoting African leadership in health information

2. Supporting evidence-based practice and improving public access to health information

3. Working directly with African organisations and networks to further these aims.

In 2016 Shane stepped down as Phi merged with the Centre for Global Health at the University of Winchester and began a new path under Chris Zielinski. I was fortunate to be able to work alongside her again when I joined the Health and Biosciences Libraries section of IFLA in 2017. Those same principles informed her contributions, including enabling a more geographically diverse committee and overseeing a truly international IFLA Journal special issue on 'Health information transforming lives', with 7 papers from 5 regions of the world. http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/hq/publications/ifla-journal/ifla-journ...

More recently Shane introduced me to the work of African Hospital Libraries, a charity founded in 2017 and currently working with, and through, librarians and libraries in Sierra Leone. https://africanhospitallibraries.org. She referred to this work in relation to Phi as "our natural successors".

Alongside the sadness, I am uplifted to hear so many stories of how Shane has made a difference and inspired others so I know her work and vision will be continued.

Emma Farrow

* Knowledge and Evidence Specialist at Public Health England

* Secretary, IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries section:


* Core working group, IFLA Evidence for Global and Disaster Health special interest group: https://www.ifla.org/e4gdh

* emma(at)farrow.email