As an effort to promote discussion, debate and reflection on current and relevant issues on health, SOCHARA’s Community Health Library and Information Centre (CLIC) has providing collection of resources publicly through various mediums. The CLIC evolved gradually over the 1980s and 1990s, in response to the community health needs and issues that emerged over the years. Since its inception SOCHARA (earlier CHC) has been engaged in the collection of grey literature, unpublished material or publications which were not indexed in journals or bibliographies that has been emerging in India. Efforts were made to organize it through collection and storing to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval. This process was formalized into an objective of the society and a separate unit evolved to support the information and documentation needs of the SOCHARA team and its partners and associates. This collection was made available for use by all those interested in community health. This collection was classified into the following eight sub-groups of health related materials.
1. Books / Monographs / Booklets / Reports; 2. Newsletter / Bulletins / Periodicals; 3. Health Education Materials; 4. Resources / Documentation Reference Files; 5. DOC POST (Paper Clippings) 6. Directories / Reports on Health related projects in India; 7. Special Collection 8. CHC Reports / Reflections / Publications. 9. Vernacular Language; 10. Bibliography / Annotated Bibliography.
Expansion of CLIC
In 1991 it was decided that this unit, would not only support the information and documentation needs of the SOCHARA team and its partners and associates in the field, but would be available for use by all those interested in community health–academics or activists, service providers, researchers, trainers, issue raisers, and policy makers. A simple retrieval system was evolved to allow for easy access to all the users of the library. Most of the materials for the library arrived through the large network of active linkages that CHC/SOCHARA had established over the years.
Diversifying the collection
While the collection represents a fairly good sample of the diversity and wealth of community health related resources in the country particularly those emerging from the civil society sector in India. A basic representative collection of international publications have also been added. The collection covers diverse aspects of community health, primary health care, health systems, determinants of health, society, politics and culture.
From Library to Information Centre
With the growth of electronic communication and the internet, a change in ethos and method from ‘a passive library’ to an ‘active information centre’ took place, symbolized by a change in name from Library to CLIC in 1998. CLIC also increased its focus to digitizing the collection, while retaining use of traditional communication methods needed for rural and urban poor communities such as expanding the section of health promotion materials with posters, slides, cartoons, videos and CDs.
Students, researchers, journalists, writers, training resource persons, medical professionals, NGOs, CBOs and other development professionals, persons interested in reading in general are welcome to utilize our collection.
Extension units and multi-lingual collections
With the formation of the clusters in Tamil Nadu (2004) and Madhya Pradesh (2008-09), CLIC units have also been established in these centres, with local language collections.