Dr. Mary Grace Flaherty receives Kilgour grant to assess health information resource use in North Carolina libraries

August 28, 2013

Dr. Mary Grace FlahertyNew faculty member, Dr. Mary Grace Flaherty, is this year's recipient of an Eleanor M. and Frederick G. Kilgour Research Grant Award offered by the Universtiy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library (SILS).

The competitive grant awards were established in spring 2011 to support pilot projects that include preliminary work that could possibly lead to full research proposals to external agencies. The criteria for the award includes:

  1. The potential impact of the work for career development
  2. The potential for subsequent funding 

Dr. Flaherty joined the SILS faculty on July 1st of this year. She has over 20 years experience working in a variety of library settings, including academic, medical research and public libraries. She most recently was director of the Sidney Memorial Public Library in Sidney, NY where she managed a staff of 18 and a $500,000 annual budget.

Flaherty's current research project, for which she received a Kilgour Grant, is titled, "Assessing Health Information Resource Use in NC Public Libraries."

"Dr. Flaherty will visit 60 public libraries in North Carolina and she will conduct in-person interviews with library directors to determine frequency of health queries; areas covered by those queries; librarian attitudes toward handling health questions; knowledge and interest in skills training and preferences and resources used to answer health questions," said Dr. Gary Marchionini, dean of SILS and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor. 

Flaherty will pose questions related to knowledge of resources for patron information on the "Affordable Care Act" (e.g. WebJunction resources), knowledge of resources from the National Library of Medicine and whether the library offers any programming related to health information and/or health promotion. 

“This work will extend her doctoral research in New York State and contribute to public access to health information in libraries; introduce Mary Grace to the North Carolina Library community; and serve as the basis for grant proposals to the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Institutes of Health,” said Marchionini. 

About Dr. Frederick G. Kilgour

Eleanor and Fred KilgourDr. Kilgour revolutionized the way libraries network and store information with his invention of the WorldCat database in 1971. It is one of the most consulted databases in higher education and is used daily by millions of students, teachers, scholars and researchers worldwide. In 1967, Dr. Kilgour founded the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), the first and largest online library network in the world, and served as its president until 1980. He was a distinguished research professor at SILS from 1990 to 2004 when he retired. Eleanor and Fred were instrumental in setting up the “ Kilgour Faculty Development Fund” and the Eleanor M. and Frederick G. Kilgour Research Grant Award. The library and information science world was saddened with his passing on July 31, 2006.