Support for Research: Roles for Librarians

In her Keynote presentation this morning Ruth Holst spent most of her time discussing the evolving roles of hospital librarians. But in addition at the end of her presentation she discussed a recent study that provides food for thought on emerging roles available to librarians in the academic setting in support of research. The report written by “retired” librarians Susan Kroll and Rick Forsman  A Slice of Research Life: Information Support for Research in the United States is available on the OCLC website. The report looks at the “current use of tools and services that support all stages of  the research life cycle in institutions of higher education” in the United States. How can your library better meet the needs of researchers?

Taubman Health Sciences Library Connects with University of Michigan’s Mini Med School

Merle began with the most obvious question: What are Mini Med Schools? They are a public education program generally consisting of a lecture series on medical topics. Currently, there are more than 70 medical schools, institutions, and hospitals that have Mini Med Schools.

The What: UM Mini Med School is intended to provide the community with information not otherwise readily available in an informal manner.

It is a 6 week course that meets once a week and includes a lecture and an opportunity to speak with the lecturer. There was a variety of topics, including Cancer, Infectious Disease, The Cardiovascular System, Genetics and Medicine, Gastrointestinal System, and more.

The library became involved in 2003, beginning a collaboration by providing supplemental list of resources on the topics covered in the course. Although initially using more print resources, the current list is mostly electronic resources.

Mini Med School From the Horse’s Mouth:

As the liaison librarian to the Internal Medicine division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes, Mark MacEachern had the opportunity to attend the 2010 Mini Med School.

Mark meet with the faculty (ranging from academic to clinical faculty), listen to faculty discuss their research/clinical interests, and provided a better understanding on the faculty needs. He also gained insight into the medical school itself and how it’s structured.

For additional information, contact Merle Rosenzweig or Mark MacEachern

–As always, reporting to you live


Stepping Forward into New Roles

Ruth Holst was greeted by the audience with enthusiastic applause, announcing “here I am….again!”

Ruth was a hospital librarian for 32 years before joining the GMR. She reminisced about the 70’s (where “digital” referred to your fingers), where growth in medical libraries created many new consortia, where the main function was initially facilitating interlibrary loan. Soon, these libraries began adding more functions and duties, like establishing patient education.

By the 90’s, Ruth expanded her opportunities within the hospital itself, often serving as a neutral party between doctors and nurses–something that was becoming part of the librarians role.

“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times: positive trends influencing hospital libraries” -Editorial. The author notes that two questions arise for every 3 patients in a typical medical setting. However, physicians statistically only pursue 36-55% of those questions. This means:

2 questions X 95,0000 patientes = 190,000

If 55% pursed by physicians, only 85,580 questions are being answered. This results with many patient deaths that could have possibly prevented
NLM funded a survey of health libraries–the most comprehensive of which was 1989, where at that time there were 32% of hospitals had libraries. You had to meet 4 criteria to be considered a hospital library. There were actually 44%
hospitals that reported libraries, but only 32% met the criteria. By 2006, the number of hospitals libraries has declined by 19%, while the number of hospital libraries was only down 2%. So while it feels like hospitals are loosing libraries constantly, statistically there isn’t much of a decline. There hasn’t been much data for the past 3 years to show the present situation

Evolving Clinical Roles

Library Functions/Roles

  • Searching the scholarly record
  • Collection management
  • access services
  • teaching

A look through the decades:

The 70’s (not applicable to all in the audience, as Ruth noted). Key points included: searching printed top online pharmacy reviews indexes, manual cataloging using “CIP,” manual book and AV checkout, phoning other libraries for ILL, and bibliographic instruction

During the 80’s, online database searching was done by paying by the minute. The decade saw computer generated union lists, microcomputer systems were used for circulation, and the establishment of DOCLINE

In the 90’s, librarians started teaching users to search online, which was somewhat controversial. Medline searching became free on the internet (horray!). The internet begins to change scholarly communication, and now ILS systems were affordable for all libraries

The 2000’s saw electronic publications dominate and libraries going “virtual.” Library as a place us re-examined, in which the roles of librarians are questioned. Librarians are urged to get out of the library and become “embedded”

The hospital librarians role has changed over the past 4 decades. Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians was established. For instance, they did a series of interviews with librarians and hospital administrators and came up with 5 goals for the typical hospital: clinical care, management of operations (quality improvement support in the hospital and managing electronic resources), education (teaching EBM skills and health literacy), innovation and research (promoting evidence-based practice and support for research), and
customer service (health literacy, classes, and information for patients)

Emerging Roles

  • Web development (website design, web master role, teaching web skills)
  • Electronic Health Records (clinical decision support, monitoring literature and updating staff)
  • Nursing Magnet journey (teaching evidence-retrieval skills, journal clubs, current awareness, etc)
  • Embedded librarians (information specialist in context and an expansion of the traditional librarian role)
  • Disaster Information Specialist (a new specialty that serves the health information needs of the community during emergencies)
  • Scholarly Communication (educate faculty, implement public access policies, etc)
  • Bioinformatics (teaching database searching and the ability to management information)
  • E-Science/E-Research (aiding researchers and making library’s role more visible)

Feel free to email

–as always, reporting to you live


Building a liaison team

Today, I had the pleasure of listening to Kelly Thormodson of the University of Iowa talk about how they’ve been building a team out of their liaison program at their health sciences library. Sadly, the impetus for this grew out of the loss of our friend, Kathy Skhal, who many of us knew and admired. Losing Kathy made the Iowa librarians realize they needed to work together more on many fronts.

Clearly evident from Kelly’s talk was her enthusiasm and no nonsense approach. Kelly is a woman with a mission to improve an already successful program. She has accomplished this already in many ways including

-establishing standard training curricula and handouts
-having librarians write up their instruction sessions such that someone else could pick up the class and teach it if needed
-using a joint education calendar so she can quickly see who is teaching what at a specific time
-and encouraging cross contamination and communication through meetings, serving on committees outside of liaison assignments and team teaching.

I think what many of us can glean from this is there is benefit from sharing what we are teaching and how we are teaching it within our own libraries. By doing this, when emergencies arise, we have others to lean on that are well prepared to back us up. So many times we feel like our one-shot truly is our one shot at getting into a class and move heaven and earth or some in sick to teach it. This team approach really helps alleviate some of that pressure while still providing good service and preserving relationships that take so long to build.

It took a tragedy for these librarians to come together. My challenge (and yours) is to figure out how to do these things in our normal library lives sans tragedy.

GMR/NLM update

Current year goals:

  • Promote emergency preparedness
  • Facilitate group purchasing.licensing
  • Plan for print retention and preservation
  • Assist physicians with EHR implementation

Goal 1: Emergency preparedness

Program evaluation

  • Baseline member survey (spring 2008)
  • Toolkit usability study (winter 2010)
  • Follow-up member survey (winter 2011

A CE course called: Ten step approach to service continuity planning–goal to teach every state.
Goal 2: E-Licensing Group

Group purchasing of health related online packages (ebooks, ejournals, databases). One package is currently available, Ovid-Nursing bundle. If interested, sign up for the listserv found on the GMR website, linked off of the resource-sharing tab that will be featuring more information about the package.

Goal 3: Print Retention

Print Retention Task Force focusing on the developing the preservation of materials and implemented in the next 5 year contract. Currently gathering data from the surveys of Resource Library Directors, SERHOLD, Network Member Interviews. The immediate goal is a plan

Goal 4: Electronic Health Records

ARRA funding through Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to help:

  • assist physicians to adopt EHR
  • Meaningful use of issue/standards
  • Critical access and rural hospitals

The librarian’s role includes literature assistance for health professionals and education about the standards.

Promoting Your Library website from the GMR includes several posters, like Time=Money

Go Local, no longer

NLM supported over 30 Go Local sites around the US, 7 of which were in the GMR region. Unfortunately, NLM decided to discontinued support Go Local sites in 2010. However, two of the GMR’s Go Local sites are planning to continue the services.

NLM’s decision was made based on the searching patterns from the past several years, with most focus on search engines like Google. This combined with high-amount of work involved and reductions in library staff forced the program led to the discontinuation of the program.

Funding opportunities–take advantage through EFTS, exhibits, Outreach Express, planning and assessment, professional development, professional instruction, and technology

Several new classes are being introduced, such as:

  • PubMed and the Evidence-Based Universe
  • The Topes: Planning Instruction for the Adult Learner
  • Emergency Preparedness for Libraries
  • Health Issues in the HeadlinesL Learning to read between the lines

What’s New at NLM

NCBI Training. This is a two day workshop (one will be offered at UIUC in the late fall or early winter)

PubMed Health. Under development by the NCBI that is focused on evidence-based consumer level of information. This is not intended to replace MedlinePlus, rather be a supplement for searching.

MedlinePlus recently underwent a website design. At last count, there are 36,000 pages; 859 language health topics; 172 tutorials; 185 videos (mostly anatomy and surgery). The licensing content comes from encyclopedias, health sources, and news.

Coming soon to MedlinePlus includes a mobile detection and medlinePlus Connect. The goal is to connect patients and providers to information directly and in turn improve health literacy and promote exposure for MedlinePlus.

Problem code–Code to topic mapping–MedlinePlus results

This will be released this fall.

Emergency Access Initiative (EAI)

Collaborative partnership between NLM, NN/LM, and participating publishers to provide free access to full-text articles from 240+ biomedical serial titles and select reference books to healthcare professionals and libraries affected by disasters in the US

This is not an open-access system nor a long-term substitute for access, but temporary access has been significant

NLM on Facebook and Twitter, come join for continual updates! Connect to GMR!

-as always, reporting to you live