Discovering health libraries and information services

On Friday 12th June 2015, the ‘Discovering health libraries and information services’ conference endeavoured to explore the work of health libraries and librarians in Kent. A full programme of 12 talks by representatives from across the sector provided a positive outlook of the work taking place in the region and offered insight to the different libraries that constitute our local health libraries network. The day included a tour of the Library based in the Academic Centre at Maidstone Hospital Library and was host to the CILIP South East AGM.

Discovering Health Libraries – Presentations

Jane Wroe (Electronic Services Officer, KSS Library and Knowledge Services) delivered an introduction regarding electronic resources in the NHS. From Formula One doctors to porters the audience for health libraries is comprised of the one million staff working in the NHS. At local level, the most active users of e-resources are doctors, students on placement and library staff. Time constraints and workload necessitate that the majority of users make use of the library only when they have a specific requirement for example commencing a programme of study.

Jill Rutland (Library and Knowledge Services Manager, Public Health and Social Care Library, Kent County Council) discussed the work involved in merging two libraries. Once a unified service was achieved the challenge was to promote the value of evidence-based practice to the unchartered waters of council employees such as trading standards staff and planners.

Lorrie Farrall (Library Assistant, Clinical Studies Library, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital) provided us with an insight in to her working day. Despite her role developing over time there was a continuing focus on patient facilitation by furnishing practitioners with the knowledge and skills to support patients.

Jonathan Baker (Librarian, Clinical Studies Library, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital) spoke about how clinical librarianship roles take the library to the user in their own environment. By attending medical handover meetings and providing information to assist in answering direct clinical queries, Jonathan’s work has enabled staff at QEQM to realise the value of library staff.

David Bedford (Academic Support Librarian, Drill Hall Library – Universities of Medway) delivered a talk on how academic librarians endeavour to teach research skills to health students in response to the requirements set out by the regulatory bodies and teaching advances, from basic library skills to advice for systematic reviews.

Manfred Gschwandtner (Faculty Liaison Librarian for Health and Wellbeing, Canterbury Christ Church University) informed the group about the use of webinars to deliver information skills training. It was suggested that health and university librarians could collaboratively deliver a webinar to promote the type of resources available to students post qualification.

Louise Goswami (National Programme Manager for Library and Knowledge Services, Health Education England) depicted the current status of health libraries on a national level. Project work to investigate resource discovery options, new funding models and succession planning is part of the national agenda.

Rosalind Francis (Academic Services Librarian, University of Greenwich) presented the group with a scenario to encourage discussion about how and why NHS users access libraries when they require support. Staff at Trusts in local partnerships with the University of Greenwich are permitted limited access to university library resources but does this run the risk of undercutting or undermining NHS libraries?

Becky England (Site Manager: E-resources, Library Education and Training Centre, Tunbridge Wells Hospital) spoke about how the award winning KnowledgeShare service is utilised to provide a targeted current awareness service that delivers the latest high-level evidence to staff.

Archana Deshmukh presented the findings of her MA research which looked at applying quantitative measures to assist in the evaluation of a clinical librarian service.

Tricia Rey (Library Services Manager, Queen Victoria Hospital) gave an insight in to the wide-ranging work that is carried out in a small health library in terms of funding, purchasing, collaboration and quality assurance.

Denise Brady (Librarian, St Christopher’s Hospice) closed the event by presenting on the role and workings of a hospice library. Staff, students, patients and volunteers use the library and the information desired can be extremely personal and emotional for the enquirer.

Presentation slides from some of the talks can be found at:

Write-up by Kate Davies

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