Long before I became romantically involved with Lynn, before I even met her, I knew her by reputation. I was impressed then and have continued to be during these nearly two decades that she's been wife and friend as well as colleague. Now she's bringing the colleague chapter to a close. This just out:
IPSWICH, Mass. — May 16, 2014 — Lynn Fortney, Vice President of Medical E-journals and E-Packages at EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) will retire on July 5, 2014. That date is her 25th anniversary at EBSCO.
Fortney says, “I have had an amazing career, but my successes have been because of the impressive colleagues I have been privileged to work with, librarians and other information industry leaders alike. EBSCO provided me an incredible opportunity to apply my understanding of the unique issues faced by health sciences librarians to what has become the largest suite of products and services in the information industry. Medical libraries today bear little resemblance to those from the early days of my career and neither does EBSCO. 1973 - 2014; my career has been an awesome, Walt Disney World's Expedition Everest roller-coaster ride.”
Fortney started her library “career” in the eighth grade, working as an aide in her school’s library, but it was not until she attended Grinnell College that she learned what a librarian could accomplish in terms of finding information. After graduating in 1972 from Grinnell with a B.A. in American Studies (with a minor in studio art), Fortney attended Emory University’s Division of Librarianship where she earned a Master’s degree in 1973 while working at the Central Library of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
Her first professional library position was Medical Reference Librarian at the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS) Library in Tuscaloosa. In 1975, she was appointed Chief Medical Librarian of the CCHS, and was instrumental in developing the plans for and eventually moving the library to Druid City Hospital (now DCH Regional Medical Center). In 1982, Fortney accepted the position of Associate Director of Public Services at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences/University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she was deeply involved in the selection, implementation and training for the library’s first integrated library system (ILS), the Georgetown LIS.
25 Years at EBSCO
In 1989, Fortney was recruited by EBSCO to become the company’s first Medical Library Marketing Manager, and subsequently became Vice President/Director, Biomedical Division. In this role, she provided a biomedical library focus for the company by monitoring trends affecting academic medical center and hospital libraries, recommending new services specifically designed for health sciences librarians, and participating in product development and business planning.
She started her tenure at EBSCO at the dawn of MEDLINE on CD-ROM and the early days of email as we know it. In her 25 years at EBSCO, Fortney experienced the impact of the rise of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and electronic journals. A major focus of her career was working on tools for collection development/assessment and journal price studies, specifically the Index Medicus Price Study (IMPS). In 1999, the Medical Library Association Collection Development Section awarded Fortney the first Daniel T Richards Prize For Writing Related to Collecting in the Health Sciences, for the “Index Medicus Price Study, 1998-1999”, which she co-authored with Victor Basile.
EBSCO Information Services President Tim Collins says Fortney has helped EBSCO shape its ever-expanding medical resources and provided EBSCO with a very valuable medical librarian perspective. “We have been fortunate to work with such a strong advocate for medical libraries for so many years. Lynn has been a key member of our team for a long time and we believe medical libraries have benefited significantly from the guidance she provided."
Conferences, T. Scott Plutchak and The Bearded Pigs
Fortney has presented at events and conferences across America and around the world, including delivering the keynote address at the Australian Library and Information Association “Specials” Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 2001. She met her future husband, T. Scott Plutchak (at the time, Director of the St Louis University Health Sciences Library), in 1992, when she invited him to speak at a seminar for academic medical library directors she was organizing in Birmingham. Their wedding was the “featured entertainment” of the Midcontinental Chapter’s Welcome Reception in Kansas City in 1995. Plutchak (currently Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences/University of Alabama at Birmingham), Fortney and several of their musically talented friends in the medical library field formed a band, “The Bearded Pigs,” that played for many years at the MLA Annual Meeting (with incidental proceeds to the MLA’s Grants and Scholarship Fund).
Fortney has been active in professional associations throughout her career, most especially the Medical Library Association (MLA); teaching MLA continuing education courses and speaking at symposia, serving on various MLA committees and task forces, and in leadership roles of several sections. She was a founding member and first president (1980-81) of the Alabama Health Libraries Association, Chair of the Southern Chapter/Medical Library Association in 2001 – 2002, served on the national MLA Nominating Committee three times (1997, 2004 and 2010), and was elected to the MLA Board of Directors for a three year term, 2000-2003. She says her greatest honor came in 2011 when she was named a Fellow of the Medical Library Association, which she describes as, “a rare tribute for someone who did not work in a library.” Fortney has always refused to be referred to as “a vendor who used to be a librarian”. For 25 years, she happened to work for a vendor. But she has always been a librarian first.