Books For China

Article Conference CoverageFrom American Association of Gynecological LaparoscopistsOrlando, Florida, November 2000

Audio/Video Link  *requires RealPlayer - free download

Barbara Nesbitt:  “Hello, I’m Barbara Nesbitt and I’m at AAGL 2000 in Orlando, Florida.  I have the privilege and pleasure of being with my good friend Mary Zoe Phillips.  We’re going to talk about Books for China, what’s she’s been doing for the past year, and about a new appointment that she has.” 

Mary Zo Phillips:  “We just returned from China about two and a half weeks ago.  In this past year my husband, Dr. Jordan M. Phillips, who is an emeritus Professor at the University of California, Irvine has made a sister relationship, the first of its kind, with the Medical University of Tianjin.  They welcomed the University with open arms and the exchange began this past June and also in July when we had the President of Tianjin Medical University come to the University of California, Irvine with the Dean, Thomas Cesario.  Having doctors come to the University in Orange County has just enhanced the relationship and there are a few professors that have gone to Tianjin Medical University, so this relationship has started many different ideas and many different committees.  When we returned from Tianjin this last time, President Hao Xishan made the comment to Dr. Phillips and myself that we need to have a conference on medical library science, and he said, “I have a very good idea, June 13-15 would be a pre-conference for our medical librarians in China to have this interrelationship and exchange with foreign librarians, and right after that will be Tianjin Medical University’s fiftieth anniversary celebration so this would make it complete to have an international conference and then have our big celebration with a free trip to the Great Wall and make people see China and then come back to Tianjin for fireworks.”  So this is what happened, and while we were having this committee meeting and trying to decide what their wants were, Dr. Hao said, “Mrs. Phillips, we want you to be the Secretary General of this meeting.”  I said, “I’m deeply honored but I think there should be somebody else who has much more influence on the librarians,” and he said, “No, we know you can do it and we know since you have done so much with Medical Books and you have all these contacts that you would be able to do this.”  Then I started to think, ten years ago we put on a medical library science conference in Beijing and the Minister of Health then was Chen Minzhang and he said, “Please, bring me ten librarians and we’ll have a conference and update our medical libraries.”  It’s been another ten years so its twenty years now, and we will have another conference but these twenty years is also the anniversary for Medical Books for China International.  Medical Books for China International has sent sixty twenty-ton containers of medical books and they have been distributed to over one thousand medical libraries.  Every medical library that receives the books identifies our books with a big red stamp on the inside of the book saying – ‘Medical Books for China International, Jordan M. Phillips M.D.’ so they know this book is a gift to them.  We get the books free, and China gets them free so this is just an open hand relationship but it has built a very strong bridge.  So now with this library conference, I received a fax from Tianjin with the committees plan as to the subject matter, and I have drawn up a brief program as to what they’re wanting.  The chief librarian said this would be some of the things that would be very good for us to have.  They want to know what a modern medical library is.  They want to know what a digital medical library is, and how are digital medical libraries in the United States now and what do they see them to be in the future.  They want to know how do you operate it, what’s the strategy in operation and the management of it by all of this new technology.  We see all of this with our computers so now putting this whole science into just medical library science is another step for transmitting information medically.  They also want to know the standards and regulations of the data libraries.  One other thing about this meeting is we are having a section where it’s going to be divided for medical libraries that are in hospitals, that are at the university level, and that are in research level.  This way the patrons of the library require different information and many times one of the librarians have said a patron has come in and this doctor said he needed this information right now, and of course the librarian said they would look it up first and find what the doctor really needed, and the doctor said he had to give a speech in ten minutes, so please hurry.  So you can see some of the demands on a librarian, and the librarians are just very quiet people who love books.  The dates for this medical library conference are June 13-15 of the year 2000 and then the big celebration for the Medical University is the 16th of June.  Any librarians who are interested or any guests who would just like to come and see China, we will be happy to contact you and that’s at Medical Books for China International.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “And we’re promoting it on”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “I’m so happy.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “I’m going to leave it up there and it’s on your new AAGL website; you have a whole section over there.”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “Thank you very much.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “You’re welcome, I didn’t mean that as a plug for us but anyone that wants any information about this can go into the AAGL website and find it all.  You have done so darn much, this is the second year and I’m amazed, there’s no end to what you do.”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “As I say every time we go to China, another door opens and we walk in.  We don’t know what we’re going to receive or what to expect and or what will develop from it.  This is how the book project started, and this is how my husband, Jordan, met a doctor and this doctor said she liked what he was doing with endoscopy and would he like to teach over at this other hospital.  Of course Jordan said sure so then the next thing you know he went from that hospital and then he went to another hospital and did the same thing.  Then it was time to go back home and the next thing you know we go back to China and we meet this doctor again and she said, “Where do you want to go next?”  He said, “I thought I would like to visit a city just kind of as a tourist.” and she said, “I have some very good friends in that city, you must go to this hospital and show them endoscopy.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “So he never did get to do a lot of visiting and touring, he was working.”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “That’s right, he was working.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “Now how many of those trips have you made?”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “We have been to China sixty-nine times.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “Can you believe it?”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “Sixty-nine times…”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “So Professor Jordan Phillips has given you quite a life but you’ve certainly given him quite a life with what you do with the Books for China.”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “You know how the Chinese have the Ying-Yang symbol, that’s exactly what it is - we work together, we fit together, it’s just life, and we both love it.  As I said on the last poem that I wrote for the year of the dragon – if you have an open hand, you can give and receive, a closed hand – nothing.  So if you give, you receive and that’s the same way with opening your heart.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “You are truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever met.”

Mary Zo Phillips:  “Thank you so much.”

Barbara Nesbitt:  “It’s always a pleasure.”  

Mary Zo Phillips:  “And it’s an open hand.”

Barbara Nesbitt

:  “Thank you.”


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