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J Med Libr Assoc. Jul 2006; 94(3): 364–366.
PMCID: PMC1525330

Jane Annis Lambremont, FMLA, 1931–2005

Jo Anne Boorkman, AHIP, FMLA

Jane Annis Lambremont, FMLA, died quietly at her home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on November 30, 2005, after a brief fight against cancer. Jane had great zest, which she brought to each and every endeavor in her very accomplished life and career. She even planned a champagne reception as her final gift—two cases of champagne were consumed in celebrating her life! She would have loved that.

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While she had many roles—academic librarian, hospital librarian, consultant, educator, and consumer health librarian—Jane will be remembered for her contributions as a hospital librarian and champion of hospital librarianship. She spoke up for hospital libraries wherever she had an audience and successfully secured grants to establish and expand hospital library services.

Jane was born in Laurel, Mississippi, on April 12, 1931. She grew up in New Orleans, where she attended Newcomb College of Tulane University and developed an early interest in libraries and library science. The librarian at Tulane University even offered to pay her tuition at Louisiana State University (LSU) Library School and offered a job upon graduation. However, Jane's life took a different path at the time. Marriage and family followed her graduation from college in 1951. Jane kept busy raising four children and participating in the community as an LSU faculty spouse.

When her youngest daughter was in school, her keen intellect and abundant energy led her to consider what she wanted to do with the “rest of her life.” While exploring her options, Jane discovered that the LSU library school's curriculum allowed her to attend classes while raising her family. Upon graduation with her master's of science degree in library science (MSLS) (“MizLiz”) in 1969, Jane embarked on her career as a hospital librarian. As recounted in her MLA oral history [1], Jane's graduation coincided with the establishment of an intern training program at Earl K. Long Memorial Hospital (EKL) in Baton Rouge. EKL had a small book and journal collection but needed a part-time librarian. Jane was ready and enthusiastic. She was on her way to a rewarding career that established hospital libraries and librarians as major players in the health care community.

At EKL, Jane “raised” the first classes of interns, some of whom became lifelong friends. Her early years at the hospital were memorable, and comments from some of the physicians of that period show how influential she was and how revered she still is: As one physician, Floyd “Flip” Roberts, recounted, she was

[T]he founder of all effective medical libraries in Baton Rouge. All of us who had experience with her in the ‘70s now realize that she was “Google”’ before there was “Google,” and was one of the real delights on an EKL experience in those years.

Her good friend, Trent James, commented in his eulogy,

Jane was the medical librarian onsite and what a glorious one she was. The library was the center of the EKL [Memorial Hospital] experience. She nurtured many a young medical student and fledgling physician. Jane was bright, in fact, brilliant.

He further recounted:

LSU surgical residents in their third year were required to write a paper. These residents would wait until their EKL rotation to do the work on their paper because Jane would help them with the research and data gathering… Jane had the only password [for MEDLINE] and training to use the telex or teletype to obtain data from National Library of Medicine [NLM] and other libraries which served to furnish data to physicians. She could make it happen. By her doing this essential work, Jane brought evidence-based medicine to the docs and to their patients, improved medical education and improved patient care. As a physician, Jane became your emissary, your professor, yes, even mother confessor, the bright light in the darkness of ignorance and the “pulla of ya butta outa” trouble as it related to information gathering; she was a premier medical librarian.

Jane had found her professional calling. She loved to say she learned to “talk doctor” very well as she recalled stories of those early career years.

During her years at EKL as a part-time librarian, Jane recognized the need for librarians at all the hospitals. She embarked on a training program for LSU library school students, mentoring them and encouraging them to pursue careers in hospital librarianship. Evelyn Olivier, AHIP, Jane's first student assistant, in a note to James, expresses the sentiments of Jane's trainees:

She is the reason I have been a medical librarian for the past 30 years. Library school was the pits …Jane made the real work of librarianship great fun. She made clear the importance of providing quality health information to health care professionals. She was my mentor and allowed me to …go on rounds with the health care team and experiment where other medical librarians did not.

Also during this time, Jane began writing grant proposals. She was remarkably successful, too, largely due to her enthusiasm, energy, and persistence. She secured an NLM resource project grant for Pediatric Care and the Clinical Librarian, and an NLM resource improvement grant for the Earl K. Long Hospital. She also established the Community Medical Library Consortium of Baton Rouge, created the hospital library training program for students at the LSU graduate school of library science, and taught the medical bibliography course at the LSU medical center.

In 1980, Jane took her talents to North Carolina, where she worked with Samuel Hitt, AHIP, FMLA, director of the Health Sciences Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) [2]. She spent the next three years as liaison librarian for the statewide Area Health Education Center (AHEC) that was based in Chapel Hill. During her tenure, she worked with the AHEC librarians to establish standards for AHEC libraries. Her oral history recounted the challenges she faced getting these standards accepted by the AHEC directors. Jane was successful in helping the AHEC librarians secure grants and expand their library services. Jill Mayer, AHIP, recounted:

I met Jane in 1979 when I became a brand new librarian. She was the statewide librarian coordinator for the NC Area Health Education Program (AHEC) library network. AHEC was a fairly new program at the time and Jane had the intelligence, wit, and enthusiasm needed in creating a “statewide network.” Jane had the ability to make each of us to not only feel special and important but to also begin to work as a group not as independent librarians. She was successful.

Cyril Feng, then director of the University of Maryland Health Sciences Library, in Baltimore [3], recruited Jane as education coordinator for the newly formed Southeastern/Atlantic Regional Medical Library (SE/A RML) in 1983. There she expanded her range of influence and developed a series of workshops and seminars that focused on training hospital librarians. While these were developed for the SE/A RML, she taught many of these courses throughout the country. Jane often co-taught classes with others. Martha Jane Zachert, AHIP, FMLA, wrote to James:

Jane Lambremont was my workshop teaching partner on numerous occasions from Jekyll Island, GA, to Nashville, TN. She knew intuitively when to push a class, when to lighten up. She could deal hard facts or light humor, always to the advantage of the class—and her partner. She could mentor me in hospital librarianship and teach a workshop at the same time. Count me among those who will miss her most.

Academic librarianship was an uneasy fit for Jane. She loved being in the hospital setting, working directly with health professionals and “talking doctor.” So when a position became available in 1984 at the VA Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina, she returned to hospital librarianship, and, when a similar post at the VA in Alexandria, Louisiana, became vacant in 1994, she moved there to be closer to her family. Back in her home state, Jane continued to network, and she developed yet another consortium. She retired in 1997.

Upon returning to Baton Rouge as a “retiree,” Jane continued her career as a consumer health librarian. She started as a volunteer. Then to assure continuation of the library, she negotiated funding for a part-time position, assuring that a librarian would be in place when she eventually really retired.

Jane was active in local, regional, and national library associations. As a hospital leader, she was invited to participate in a gathering of hospital librarians at NLM. Sara Hill Blackwell recounts her “favorite story about Jane” (also in Jane's oral history) about:

[A] workshop with NLM staff and the NLM Director, Martin Cummings[, AHIP, FMLA]. Those of us attending the meeting later called ourselves the Bethesda 11 because there was one hospital librarian representative chosen from each NLM regional library area. Anyway, we each had our assigned topic, and it was such a very serious and almost dull meeting, until Jane leaned forward and literally disappeared under the table (she slipped off the great big tippy chair on rollers). That broke the ice with gales of laugher from all of us. From then on it was a great meeting, with plenty of dialog and humor, all thanks to Jane. There is no one who can compare with her positive attitude, her sense of humor, and her infectious laugh.

Jane was instrumental in the establishment of the Hospital Libraries Section of MLA and was a leader in developing the first written Hospital Library Standards, chairing the section's Hospital Library Standards and Practice Committee in 1980. She also developed and taught MLA continuing education courses and was president of the then-named South Central Regional Group in 1980. Later, Jane was elected to the MLA Board of Directors, serving from 1984 to 1987. She took her responsibilities seriously and was a faithful steward of the association's resources; she also ensured that hospital library and hospital librarian issues and concerns were heard. She was made a Fellow in 1996, in recognition of her career and her contributions to the association and the profession.

Jane could be counted on to speak her mind, with intelligence and wit. T. Mark Hodges, AHIP, FMLA, recounts that he had become known for endorsing Jane's ideas by uttering

[T]he enthusiastic response of members of Britain's House of Commons, when listening to an orator of note: “Hear! Hear!” Jane came to count on this, would look around to see if I was present, and, as each point was made, look in my direction to indicate it was time to “do my thing.” I was happy to oblige.

An inveterate traveler, Jane enjoyed all modes of transportation— from helicopters to luxury liners. She was always up for an adventure and took everything in stride with a laugh and with her “gin Bloody Mary” at the end of the day. In her travels, Jane could not pass up a shopping opportunity— always looking for trinkets, T-shirts, whatever, for her grandchildren, who never tired of getting their surprise birthday boxes from Gram.

Jane made and kept friends wherever she lived, worked, and played. Retiring to her home in Baton Rouge enabled her to rekindle many early friendships, and she kept busy with a bridge club, a book club (Second Monday), symphony concerts, and, of course, the family she dearly loved—her children, Carol Lambremont Smith, Suzanne Lambremont, John Lambremont, and Barbara Peters, their spouses, and eight grandchildren, all of whom survive her.

Jane was a great friend, mentor, teacher, and colleague. Farewell, Jane. Many will miss you, but never forget you. Let's all join in with a hearty: Hear! Hear!

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Trent James for sharing with me the eulogy he presented at Jane's memorial service, along with the many email messages he received from Jane's friends and colleagues. These include notes from: Floyd Roberts, Evelyn Olivier, Jill Mayer, Sara Hill Blackwell, T. Mark Hodges, Martha Jane Zachert, Nancy Clemmons, AHIP, Rebecca Satterthwaite, and Jan LaBeause. I thank them all for capturing Jane so well and bringing back wonderful memories. Special thanks go to Carol Lambremont Smith for her assistance and sharing of other memorial tributes from Mary Dewey and Becky Larkin.

References

  • Mayer J. Transcript of oral history with Jane Lambremont. 26 Jul 2001. (Print copies of the oral history can be found through the Regional Medical Libraries. An oral history summary and photo are available at: <http://www.mlanet.org/about/history/j_lambremont.html>. [cited 23 Mar 2006].).
  • Lipscomb CE, Bunting A. Samuel William Hitt, FMLA, 1921–2005 [obituary]. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006.  Jul; 94(3:):365–8.
  • Weise F., Cyril C. H. Feng, 1936– 1990 [obituary]. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1990.  Jul; 78(3):335–6.

Articles from Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA are provided here courtesy of Medical Library Association

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