Published March 21, 2013
Whether it’s finding homes for stray cats or locating obscure journals for medical researchers, Pam Rose is all about connecting people with resources they need. It’s an “operating principle” that motivates her work as Web services and library promotions coordinator for the Health Sciences Library (HSL). This theme also inspires passionate efforts to rescue dogs and cats, and communicate the often-unrecognized ways that animals help people every day.
“One of the most powerful things that any information specialist can do is to connect people with what they need,” says Rose. So when the HSL was faced with offers to donate certain books it couldn’t accept because of collection policies, Rose put together a website matched to this specific consumer desire. The site connects would-be book donors with agencies that collect and disseminate books in countries where they’re desperately needed. Today, this webpage is the second-most accessed link within the larger HSL site, Rose says.
Indeed, Rose’s skill connecting people and resources was especially evident in December when she worked with Therapy Animals of Western New York to bring 20 therapy dog teams to both the HSL and Lockwood Library to help relieve student stress during finals week. (Stress Relief Days will be repeated at both libraries May 1-3.) As part of her multifaceted volunteer work, Rose maintains the organization’s website and now is compiling a database of therapy dog teams and places that need them. “We’re providing resources and locations and things that people can do to help get their dogs certified, and then places where they can go,” Rose adds. “Once again, it’s an information/resource-matching kind of operation.”
Rose’s animal advocacy began more than 30 years ago when she started rescuing cats. When she met her husband, Joel Rose, she had three cats and he had four. “It was a match made in heaven,” she says. Her work with animals accelerated as she and other family members found stray cats and helped them get needed care. “For many years, I would volunteer at the veterinary hospital, doing whatever they needed, cleaning cages, in return for reduced cost services,” she says. “I rescued dozens of cats by myself during that time.” Today, the Rose household is home to seven cats and a Bernese mountain dog named Sophia, who is also a certified therapy dog.
In addition to Therapy Animals of Western New York, Rose’s major role helping animals is with Buffalo Humane, where she serves as a board member and feline behavior counselor. As in her library work, the idea is to connect people with specific resources and other forms of assistance. “If you can give people tools to solve the [animal] behavior problem, then they don’t have to give up their cat or dog,” Rose explains. “So you keep them out of the shelter, which makes the job of the rescue groups in the area easier because they have fewer animals they have to place.”
Ever since her days as a UB freshman, Rose successfully has intermingled an academic career and professional life with abiding interests in animal welfare, gardening and related topics. She began working in the HSL as a work study student before being hired as a SG3 clerk for the library, all the while “chipping away” at her baccalaureate degree in medical anthropology, which she earned in 1990. By this time, she had long since worked her way into the professional staff ranks, and in 1995 received her master of library science degree, also from UB. Over the years, she has worked in a range of library services, including acquisitions and cataloging.
Today’s Rose’s promotions duties include posting items of interests on the library’s main site, often consulting HSL’s blogs for UB’s five health sciences schools to arrive at the best mix of material. Rose also coordinates exhibits such as the HSL installment in the recent multi-library exhibit on food. She also arranged for the current show on “Harry Potter’s World,” which is a traveling show sponsored by the National Library of Medicine. The exhibit, on view at the HSL until March 23, showcases the traditions of Renaissance medicine implicit in J. K. Rowling’s famous series. Meanwhile, Rose continues to serve patrons in twice-weekly stints at the HSL reference desk.
Rose’s involvement with animals extends to the Buffalo Zoo, where she is a volunteer docent. “When you take docent training, you begin to study the behavior of animals more than just domestic cats and dogs,” she says. “I study all manner of animal behavior now.” Her own research interests embrace animal products, such as vampire bat saliva used to treat stroke in humans. “The beauty of that is you get the saliva from the animal while the animal’s still alive,” Rose says. “You’re not sacrificing the animal to get what you need. And for me, that’s a huge thing.”
Ever busy, Rose says she can’t quite identify the source of her energy. “I’m not quite sure how I do it,” she says. “For me, what I do is not work. I guess that’s the best way to put it. It is work in the sense that you are expending energy and intellect in order to create something. But I love coming to work. I love rescuing animals. I love doing my work with therapy dogs. And I love gardening. Everything l do is something I love.”
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