This is more or less what I will say when awarding the Barnard prize to Jean Shaw. It may not be precisely in the form it will be delivered but I dislike reading speeches as much as I dislike hearing someone else stumble through a prepared text.
"CILIP’s Health Libraries Group awards the Cyril Barnard prize every three years to honour the memory of Cyril Barnard, and to recognise an exceptional and sustained contribution to health librarianship. Cyril Barnard was one of the giants of medical librarianship as we then thought of it, in the last century. Apart from the work he did at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in this year of the ICML, it is worth remembering that he was intimately involved in international work, playing, with the late Leslie Morton, a major role in the London Congress that was the first international gathering of medical librarians in 1953. He also will be know to many as the developed of the Barnard classification; earlier in my career I had the honour to run one of the libraries using the Barnard scheme, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons."
"But to return to Cyril Barnard’s international role; it make it especially apposite that this year’s Barnard prize should go to Jean Shaw, whose name is synonymous with international work in our profession. The threat of avian influenza reminds us that agents of disease do not pay much attention to national boundaries; neither therefore should those who contribute to the treatment of the sick be so limited. Jean retired, if that is the right word, in 1995 at the end of a very distinguished career as the first medical school librarian at Leicester; she immediately threw herself into the affairs of EAHIL, being the longest serving editor of its newsletter."
"Jean became Research Officer for PHI, Partnerships in Health Information, about three years after its foundation. Jean led PHI in building partnerships and links with health information professionals in developing countries, to show the breadth of PHI's work, the latest newsletter mentions projects in Chechnya, Tanzania and Sierra Leone; under her leadership, PHI has grown in strength and influence, thanks to over ten years commitment on her part. HLG is proud to be associated with PHI and particularly pleased to learn that a Programmes Officer is to be appointed. Our manifesto defines raising awareness of international health information issues as one of our core activities, and our relationship with PHI is central to that."
"These connections aside, the central reason for awarding this prize to Jean is the example she sets us of what the information professional should be; she has pioneered, she has developed new organisations and her contribution to the profession has been delivered modestly unselfishly and to great effect throughout her life."