May 27, 2022

Virginia Commonwealth University: Librarians on Three Continents Create New Virtual Library

From VCU:

Scientists around the world, including many at VCU, are working to understand addiction to prevent, diagnose and treat it. Now, a VCU Libraries effort is building an information infrastructure for a forward-thinking global program.

Envisioned as a model for resource sharing in the digital age, this collaboration may be adapted to other international degree programs. Beyond that, this effort may become a model for building similar knowledge hubs that address intractable health and welfare problems.

Librarians on three continents developed the virtual library and classroom materials for the International Programme in Addiction Studies. This master’s degree program is offered by three leading universities in addiction sciences: VCU, King’s College London, and the University of Adelaide, Australia. Its faculty and students—a cohort of some 50 per degree-cycle—will use the new materials. More about the program.


“The virtual library is a unique global resource in addiction studies and will be a great benefit for our students, who have already benefited enormously form the efforts of VCU librarians Nita Bryant and John Cyrus,” said Robert Balster, co-founder and co-director,International Programme in Addiction Studies.


At the core of the program is the concept of “information literacy,” widely defined as a set of skills, knowledge, and attitudes essential for locating, retrieving, critically analyzing and using information for problem solving. Explains Librarian Nita Bryant: “Information literacy sets the foundation for independent research and is the basis for evidence-based practice in medicine, health care and policymaking.”

Principal investigators, VCU Librarians Bryant and John Cyrus, worked with a $15,000 Quest grant, along with colleagues from England and Australia. The project draws on their collective backgrounds in psycho-social sciences and bio-medicine.

“This is an enormously promising collaboration. It will support a wider range of solutions and best practices for prevention and treatment of addiction,” said Sara Beth Williams who heads the Academic Outreach Department at James Branch Cabell Library. “This initiative forges a path for libraries to create and sustain global partnerships that would similarly address issues like peace, poverty, food production and distribution, sustainable energy, climate change, child welfare, civil rights, infectious diseases, disability, environmental pollution, political corruption, criminal justice … the list goes on.


This VCU Libraries project specifically connects knowledge and evidence-based practice directly to people in the field.

Librarians involved are: 

Direct to New Virtual Library

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.