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HSLIC Faculty and Staff Honors Former Executive Director – Erika Love, MA, AHIP (1925-2020)

by Laura Hall on 2020-10-21T00:00:00-06:00 | 0 Comments

HSLIC’s former executive director Erika Love, passed away earlier this month. Erika was HSLIC’s second executive director from March of 1977 through June of 1996, and during her nearly 20-year span at UNM, Erika was instrumental in – 

  • Moving the library into its current building, a project which began a month after she started. In the years following, Erika was successful in greatly expanding the library’s collection and staffing to serve the rapidly growing UNM Medical Center.
  • Establishing the New Mexico Health Historical primary-source collections and the library’s oral history program, which was started in 1982. This effort was made possible through Erika’s leadership and a coalition between New Mexico Medical Society, UNM Department of History, UNM School of Medicine, and the library. 
  • Designating the library as a separate academic library in New Mexico in 1982, eligible for bond funding as part of the Library Bond for Higher Education.
  • Developing the Native Health History Database in the early 1990’s, including securing initial funding for its development as a national resource. This effort grew from the library’s outreach programs, an effort she led since the early 1980’s.
  • Exploring the use of electronic journals during the mid-1980s.
  • Implementing the automation of library services including installing the library’s first electronic catalog and circulation system. This also ushered in the adoption of the library’s first electronic journal collection.
  • Establishing the library as a Federally Designated Resource Library of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine in the early 1990’s.
  • Pioneering community engagement through a library outreach program.

Erika served as president of the Medical Library Association (MLA) in 1977–1978. Erika vigorously advocated that health sciences librarians engage in research to maintain the vitality of their profession’s knowledge base.   While at UNM, Erika was the Executive Committee Chair of TALON, the predecessor regional consortium to the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium, for which she also served as Chair from 1986–1988. She was named MLA’s Jane Doe Lecturer in 1987; and in 1994, she received the Marcia C. Noyes Award, MLA’s highest professional distinction for outstanding contributions to medical librarianship.

Prior to joining UNM, Erika worked at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) as Deputy Associate Director for Library Operations during the development of MEDLINE.  During this pivotal time in medical librarianship, she shared it was her “distinct privilege...watching from the inside the development of issues that turn[ed] into national and worldwide trends.” She also served as the director of the medical library at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from 1967-1972.

Erika grew up in Germany and moved to the United States where she studied library science at the University of Indiana. 

Throughout her career Erika enjoyed being present at the beginning of new areas of librarianship, and said, “I never [told] people I was an information scientist...I've always been happy to say, ‘I am a librarian.’”

Poland UH. Erika Love. President, Medical Library Association 1978/1979. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 1978 Jul; 66(3): 356-9. PMID: 354710; PMCID: PMC199502.

Love E. Research: the third dimension of librarianship. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1980 Jan;68(1):1-5. PMID: 7356492; PMCID: PMC226407.


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