Sheehy Receives Award from ALA Government Documents Roundtable

Submitted by Stephen Woods

The University Libraries is pleased to announce that Helen Sheehy has recently been awarded the Bernadine Abbott Hoduski Founders Award from the Government Documents Roundtable, an organization within the American Libraries Association. Sheehy has been an active member of GODORT for almost 25 years. She represents an important microcosm of government information specialists that is quickly becoming a rarity within the profession. Namely, librarians who are knowledgeable advocates that empower others in the use of international government information.

For eight years, Helen has been a chief contributor to the work of the Government Information and Official Publications Section (GIOPS) of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). As Chair of GIOPS, the organization sponsored a three day seminar at the Russian State Library in Moscow in May of 1999. This outreach effort to government information specialist in the former Soviet Republics was duplicated by GIOPS four years later at Sudak, Crimea, Ukraine, and attended by around 1700 participants. Locally, Helen is equal to the task.

For the last four years, she has been an active member of the United Nations Association of Centre County. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. As an executive board member, she actively helps sponsor programs through UNACC that inform the citizens of issues important to the United Nations. Her mastery of information resources from the United Nations and standing with UNACC has provided her opportunities to work with the local High Schools Model UN program. For more information about UNACC go to:

In 2010, Helen spearheaded efforts for the University Libraries to acquire the original Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Rural Development (CIKARD) collection of more than 2,000 items from Iowa State. This collection is part of 20 global networks of indigenous knowledge resources centers and the only one located in the United States. Indigenous knowledge is an emerging area of study that focuses on the ways of knowing, seeing, and thinking that are passed down orally from generation to generation. Helen’s understanding of international government information and ability to promote internationally focused collections provide some interesting opportunities.

Recently, she was invited to speak with librarians in Ethiopia about the relationship of indigenous knowledge and international government resources. This has fascinating ramifications for our understanding of government information in a paper-based society. She has also been able to make valuable connections with the study of indigenous knowledge and her work with the United Nations. This is demonstrated in the UNACC’s promotion of “International Day of the World’s Indigenous People”. For more information about the Inter-institutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK) go to:

There is so much more that I could say about Helen’s contributions to our community. Please join me in celebrating Helen’s accomplishments and recognition of her commitment to the library profession.