Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Libraries, Vendors and the Economy

Yesterday I attended my first meeting with the New England Journal of Medicine Library Advisory Board and it was very interesting. We discussed a lot of issues such as the future of medical journals, libraries, technology, and users/readers.
One of the more interesting discussions centered around the future and the transition of libraries becoming more than just repositories holding books and journals (printed matter) and the transition of journals to something more than just the printed hard copy.
This transition has been happening for some time but the economy and tightening of budgets has expedited this process. It has forced all of us to evaluate our ideas about our purchases, services, and roles. Do we really want buy print journals anymore when it costs so much in personnel time and salary to check them in, process them, and claim them. There is also the cost of binding and the cost of housing them. Keeping them on your shelves has a cost, because that space could always be put to use in other and possibly better ways. Printed material isn't the only resource facing scrutiny, databases, ILS, and other online resources must prove their worth as our role changes. Questions like, "Why are we paying for $ a database when we can get it free or cheaper from another company," are taken seriously. One librarian made the comment that libraries that have focused on and built themselves as large repositories could possibly have a lot of problems coming. Because the focus is turning away from the resources within the library and turning even more to the amount and the type of user services provided. Librarians have always provided services, but outreach is even more important now. Services gets you out of your library, gets you and your library noticed and better illustrates your value to the institution than a collection of books, journals and databases does. As libraries begin to increase the type and number of services they still need some resources. But librarians are now more focused on what resources support their services in the most economical way. This might mean that certain sacred cow resources and collections might be cut to keep other more useful or profitable resources.
Obviously this impacts vendors considerably, those hurt by the economy as well as those who have made profits despite the down turn. Just like the large repository institutions facing some very tough issues, I have got to think that the larger vendors are going to be in for some interesting times. Elsevier, Springer, Wolters Kluwer, EBSCO, etc. all are fairly big companies within publishing and library world. They each have various diverse subsidiaries. For example, did you know EBSCO also makes fishing lures? Some vendors have other non library and publishing interests, such as EBSCO, others do not.
There are vendors that are not as diverse and are still very heavy in the publishing and library world. These companies may find themselves in the same boat as libraries. This might get especially interesting when the subdivisions or subsidiaries of the parent company do not communicate. If they don't communicate well then they may not have created a plan as to how the subsidiaries can work together instead of against each other. For example, a significant increase in journal prices might not only cause a library to cut journal subscriptions but it might also impact the textbook division because the library may not also buy as many textbooks in order to afford the journals they didn't cut.
This happens with the purchase of databases. If a needed database becomes too expensive yet is critical to the mission of the library/institution the library usually offsets these costs by cutting other databases, journals, and textbooks. For example, if EBSCO significantly raised the price of CINAHL (which cannot be purchased elsewhere), many libraries who need CINAHL may end up cutting their journal titles (which would impact EBSCO if they were also that library's subscription agent) or quite possibly drop full text Medline in lieu of PubMed.
We are sort of used to seeing this happen with journal collections. For example, if you decide to purchase the online full text of LWW titles and cancel the print, it will cost more to get the online title. If you subscribe to a publisher's collection of titles you might be able to drop a few titles but you are obligated to spend the same amount of money on titles, essentially switching out or trading or titles. However, this method is viewed more as punitive measure among libraries and a preventive measure within the subsidiary, it usually only helps that division not the whole company.
Times could be difficult for these big companies. The reason I think this is that many libraries have already made quite extensive cuts in publications. The scuttlebutt around the library world is that libraries will be faced with even more budget cuts next year and quite possibly into 2011. Three years worth of cuts makes me think that nothing will be safe.
Therefore it is probably more essential than ever that large library vendors with subsidiaries increase their communication and partnership efforts so that they can work together. Because if one division increases their prices significantly they could be cutting the nose off despite the face of the overall company. Yeah that division is pulling down big profits but the other divisions suffer and the overall company suffers. When large companies buy out competitors and assimilate them, there will be some growing pains and communications issues. Once the dust has settled some companies have done a better job than others at communication, letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. Some companies have not done so well and the subsidiaries appear to be completely independent of the larger corporation. These are the companies that will have problems.
Of course this is just all just my own speculation generated by a very interesting discussion about the economy speeding up the transformation libraries and journals. The examples I provided were just examples showing how almost everything is tied together. How the price a company's product can impact and directly influence (consciously or unconsciously) whether their other products are bought or cut. In this economy it is essential that we all investigate options.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Passive and Active Library

There is a trend underfoot. Libraries are moving away from being a passive to more active.
By passive, I don't mean that the librarians or staff were passive and just twiddling their thumbs. I mean that in the past the vast majority of library resources were housed within the library. Books, journals, databases, etc. were all inside the library. There wasn't electronic access. It wasn't too long ago that our databases were on CDs loaded on to individual computers. Even the most active and outgoing librarian who conducted many outreach programs, participated in grand rounds, taught educational sessions, and knew every patron's name still had a passive library, because the patrons had to come to the library to use the resources. The patrons were more active in their research, they came to the library, because they had to.

Now libraries are now becoming more active and the patrons are becoming more passive. With advances in technology a library's collection is no longer restricted to the confines of the library's physical space. The Internet allows librarians to create web pages to showcase resources. IP validation and open URL resolvers make it so anybody on the institution's network (physically or remotely) can access library resources. Patrons don't even need to be searching the library databases to get connected to the library's online collection. A Google search could bring up results from BMJ, JAMA, NEJM, or any other online journal and thanks to the "miracle" of institutional subscriptions and IP validation, the patron can get the full text without even realizing they were using the library. Essentially it is more like the library resources coming to the patron instead of the patron coming to the library, and I haven't even touched upon all the 2.0 technology tools which are supposed to reach out to the patron even more so.

Why is this such a big deal? Well the reason is that we are in the middle of a generation shift within the workplace. Ellen Detlefsen in MLA News (members only) writes about this generation shift within the library workforce. This is also applies to the library users as well. Seniors are defined as being born between 1925-1945. Baby Boomers were born between 1946-1964. Gen Xers were born between 1965-1980 and Millennials were born between 1981-2000. Now if my math is right, we have large chunk Gen X doctors and nurses working in our hospitals, and depending on their age and their chosen profession we have some Millenials too. The oldest Millenial is 28 years old. The vast majority of medical students straight out of undergraduate studies are Millenials. The oldest of the Boomers is 63 years old and looking towards retirement, maybe not in this year with the economy, but sooner than the Gen Xers.

So we have younger patrons, why is this such a big deal. This happens every generation. True, and with each generation are changes in society and technology that the previous generation did not experience. This is very noticeable right now the relationship our patrons have with technology. According to Forrester Research, technology is pervasive the life of a Millennial, using multiple communication devices is essential, and technology replaces the workaholic style.
Millenials are used to receiving information quickly from multiple sources and like process it immediately and have little tolerance for delays and expect speed from the Web. Older workers would rather receive information linearly, think about, digest it and have more patience when dealing with the Web and technology. If you think about it, this is how they use the library and search for information. You all have seen it, the resident who jumps onto Google stating they just need one quick good article on a topic. If they use the library for this, they are in and out of there and off to their next thing before you can glance at their badge to learn their name. Millennial patrons want information more at their finger tips, they don't want to have to go and get it. If they could upload information like the characters in The Matrix, I think many would think the giant plug in the back of their head would be an adequate trade off.

As our patron population has become more passive, preferring information to come to them or at least obscenely easy to find, our libraries have become more active by pushing access to resources beyond the physical boundaries and either finding patrons (RSS feeds) or making access easier.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Deadline for Hospital Library Travel Grant is Fast Approaching

The deadline for the Hospital Library Section (HLS) Travel Award Grant is February 16, 2009!

If you are a member of the HLS and planning or considering going to the MLA meeting in Hawaii you should really take advantage of this opportunity. According to a recent email on the HLS-list the committee has received very few applicants.
The committee will provide 4 grants of $500 to winners. Grants will be awarded to HLS members based on the benefit to the section and financial need.

For more information and criteria go to: the http://hls.mlanet.org/ HLS web site and see Travel Award announcement: http://hls.mlanet.org/HLStravelgrant09.doc.

Personally, I think this is a great opportunity for any HLS member who is thinking about going to MLA. In previous blog posts I have lamented about the lack of funding for regular mid career librarians who have gone to at least one annual meeting. Until recently there just weren't a lot of grants out there to help fund those sort of medical librarians. With the economy and with the meeting located outside of the continental U.S. various MLA sections are really trying to provide many opportunities for librarians to get travel grants. I don't know whether other sections have had a lot of applicants, but I think it is sad that a section with 1043 members (statistics from HLS 2007-2008 Annual Report) has few applicants for the travel grant. One would hope this is because a lot of the members' institutions are paying for it. However, from the stories I have heard among various colleagues (academic, hospital, special, etc.) institutions are cutting back on travel not funding more of it.

There are still those librarians out there howling about how expensive it is to attend MLA (regardless of where it is held). Yet where are these people when there are more grants available?! I am extremely fortunate that my institution decided to fund my trip. Had they not done so or only funded it partially I would be applying for every travel grant I qualified for.

Not everybody can go every year nor afford to go every year but out of 1000+ members you would expect you would have a consistently large group of people wanting to go and wanting to get funding. We all have financial obligations but we also have a professional responsibilities and obligation to stay up to date and expand relevant skills in today's economy. MLA and its sections can help us achieve those professional responsibilities, but the individual must make a commitment too.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nominate a Hospital Library Section Colleague!

(courtesy of HLS-list)

Did you know that there's no limit to the number of awards that can be presented at the MLA conference? Over the years, the number of awards given out has dwindled, even though it's a known fact that our members are out there making a difference! It can't be done without you! Nominate your colleagues! Nominate yourself! Let's give our members the kudos they deserve! This year they will even be honored by MLA at the awards luncheon!

It's a new year! Don't worry about resolutions right now….it's time to reflect on what you and your colleagues have been doing over the year since the MLA conference in Chicago in May 2008! Many of our Hospital Library Section members are out there making a difference in the hospital librarianship field. HLS strives to recognize these members whose accomplishments and successes serve to advance the profession.

Have you taken notice of an HLS member’s endeavors such as:
  • Activity in publication, research, technological innovation or leadership?
  • Management of a special project or event on the job or in their community?
  • Making a difference by contributing to the profession of hospital librarianship in their institution, local organization, chapter or national association, even though they've only been in the profession for five years or less?

Look for deeds such as:

  • Publications in newsletters or journals
  • Research projects
  • Grant proposals
  • Development of user's aids or poster sessions
  • Development of new uses for software programs or networking breakthroughs
  • Leading campaigns
  • Holding office in any division of an organization
  • Performing services that contribute to the betterment of those around them
  • Taking charge to solve a problem
  • Offering easier access to quality information
  • Other unique or innovative activities

Nomination forms have been updated, as well as criteria for awards clarified, so see the awards page at http://hls.mlanet.org/Awards/index.html to print out forms and find more information.

The deadline of February 15th is fast approaching, but extensions may be agreed to by contacting Karin Havens, Chair of the Professional Recognition Awards Committee at
karin[dot]havens[atsign]emory[dot]edu prior to the deadline.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

HLS Offering Four Travel Grants for Hawaii

The Hospital Library Section (HLS) is offering four travel grants of $500 each for MLA Hawaii.

Deadline is Feb 16th, 2009. Winners announced mid-March.

Criteria: Grant is to support HLS members traveling to the MLA annual meeting in Hawaii.

The grants will be awarded according to the most benefit to the section as well as need of the recipient.

A committee appointed by the chair, including the past-chair and two others will administer the grant program. The Travel Grant Committee members are not eligible to receive the grants. The travel grants will be announced as early as possible to allow time for making arrangements for traveling to the conference.

Judging Criteria:

Financial Need:
Already recieive total funding = 0 points
Receives partial funding up to $1000 = 1 point
Receives partial funding up to $750 = 2 points
Receives partial funding up to $500 = 3 points
Receives no funding from other sources = 4 points

Benefits of Conference Attendance to Section:
Poster presenter = 1 point
HLS officer or committee chair (except Chair and Chair-elect) = 2 points
Speaker at HLS sponsored session = 3 points
HLS Chair, Chair elect, other elected (voting ) members of the board = 4 points.

Those who apply will be awarded points based on both sets of criteria. An individual can accrue multiple points for the benefit to the section criteria. For example: a committee chair who is also a speaker at an HLS sponsored session would be awarded 5 points.

If/when objective points do not result in a conclusive winner, the the committee will use their best judgment.

HLS members applying for the grant should send an email to cboss[atsign]meridianhealth[dot]com identifying the applicable criteria and explanation. Requests can be submitted for financial need only, according to the above process, or a combination of points for financial and HLS contribution criteria.

For more information go to: http://www.hls.mlanet.org/HLStravelgrant09.doc

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Libraries and IT: Why Can't We Just Get Along?

This is a common reoccurring topic among libraries, especially among hospital libraries. There is a very interesting podcast from the Chronicle, "Tech Therapy: Why Can't Librarians and IT Departments Just Get Along?". It is a little more focused on academic library relationships with IT departments, but there are a lot of interesting points and questions raised that hit across the board to all types of libraries. The co-hosts Scott Carlson and Warren Arbogast discuss some of the differences and similarities among the two departments. Some of the differences are social (male and female, older generation and younger generation) while other difference are primarily department focus (libraries tend to be mission driven while IT departments are task driven). Surprisingly to some people, there are some striking similarities between the two groups. These similarities can be how the interact with their clientele, rapidly changing work environment, job/profession security and value to the overall organization. I think what is most interesting are the anonymous comments the co-hosts solicited from librarians and IT regarding each other.

Max Anderson at the Cornflower blog posts about Social Software as a Malicious Tool. He describes the difficulties many medical libraries have accessing social software tools like blogs, wikis because their IT departments.

Perhaps by knowing the a little more about the differences and similarities between the two departments we can have a better understanding as to how we can get things done together. I am often asked by various people how they can get IT to listen to them or to approve of something. There is no magic formula and it might take a long time for success to happen. But you will increase your chances for better communication and getting the services you need by educating yourself about the product, going to IT early (before you decide to actually adopt the product), polite persistence, and presenting the big picture.

This doesn't work every time. There have been plenty of times I have sent emails repeatedly to my IT guy and they go unanswered. I wonder if he left the company, then out of the blue I get an email from him about something totally different. Frustrating, unfortunately the library isn't always their top priority. That is when I resort to calling them or sending the email to another IT person while CCing the non-responder. Sometimes this helps.

In the end I have found patient persistence to be the best way to get things done with IT.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You Still Need a Librarian Even If Everything is Online

In my previous library life I was a medical librarian for a community hospital. When I applied for that position I discovered that it was the perfect match for me at that time in my life. They needed/wanted to take that next step and get their library online and I wanted/needed experience in other areas of medical librarianship. Prior to that position I had worked at large medical institution where every librarian had a specific role. I needed to spread my wings and the position at the community hospital provided that opportunity.

I knew it wasn't going to be easy when I took the job. The library had a c-a-r-d catalog. Yes you read it right, a card catalog. Not an online catalog that we sometimes accidentally still refer to as a card catalog, but the good ol' fashion one where you flip through the actual cards. Nobody knew how to use it, the medical students and residents only exposure to one was through Pottery Barn. In addition to the card catalog, the library had only two online journals (NEJM and JAMA) through Ovid. There were no links to open access journals, and they had not even activated their online free with print paid subscription. The library's Intra and Internet sites were nonexistent.

However, I wasn't completely starting from scratch. They had a subscribed to a solid group of online databases and the administration was interested and enthusiastic with taking the library to the next level. I had an assistant who handled some of the day to day things like ILL, two good volunteers to do photocopying and shelving, and library school down the road that furnished me with students eager to do practicums.

Within the first year and a half I got a union online catalog up and running with three other affiliated hospitals. (Thank you to all of those library students who helped catalog the books.) I activated all of the online journals that came free with a print subscription. I created a very rudimentary A-Z online journal list on the library's Intranet page, it included the online journals as well as a few popular open access or embargoed titles. I also added our titles to PubMed's LinkOut. Gradually bought a few relatively cheap online journals. I entered into consortia agreements to help pay for online access to books and journals such as NEJM, JAMA, and AccessMedicine.

How did I pay for all of this? The first year I had no extra budget, I inherited a library budget already in place prior to being hired. So I had to get creative. I saved a lot in ILL costs by reworking the Docline tables to include the Freeshare libraries at the top. That saved enough money to offset the majority of the new online catalog. In the case of AccessMedicine, I decided not to buy some of the printed versions of the books that were also in the AccessMedicine collection. I actually saved money by dropping NEJM and JAMA from Ovid and joining a group of other libraries that purchased them from the publisher.

In the second year I looked at printed journal usage and bought a few slightly pricier online journals. (I realize the definitions of cheap and pricey are somewhat subject to the library and the budget.) My big accomplishment, I got a grant to fund the library's purchase of an A-Z product, a link resolver, and Athens off campus authentication system. The A-Z product opened up access to a whole slew of open access journal titles and it easily listed and maintained links to online journals I had purchased as well as those that were full text through our subscribed databases. The link resolver worked within PubMed and Ovid and patrons were able to easily access the full text or request an article using an ILL form (which came to the library assistant as an email). For the first time library users were able to access almost all of the hospital's library resources from off campus through the use of just one username and password. Athens made this possible. I know longer had to print out a large list of usernames and passwords to the various online resources and distribute it patrons.

In addition to the technological improvements I walked and talked my little butt off, singing the praises of what the library had and could do. I talked to just about anybody who would listen. I talked a lot with the IT department and the IT people, because a lot of what I was doing was new to them. I did in service trainings, I did one on one instructions, I gave mini lectures, and taught hands on library instruction classes. I pimped my library.

The beauty of it all was that I began to see real results. It came in many forms: The head of pharmacy told one of his colleagues that the journal list (A-Z) was like an all you can eat candy store. Doctors I had never seen before came into register to access resources from home using Athens. Somebody within the IT department told another colleague, "Oh yes, I know that Michelle, she is always doing something."

The results were also reflected in the online usage statistics. Administration loved getting this information. All of the anecdotal evidence was just the icing on the cake of statistics. In the first year we had approximately 800 full text downloads. The second year ended with over 1400 downloads, and the third year ended with over 3000 full text downloads. Some of the difference between the first and second year numbers could be attributed to the increase in online journal acquisition. But the library did not buy a whole lot of online titles within that time, less than 10. I would say that most of the usage could be attributed to making access much easier and more available.

At the end of my third year, I accepted a new librarian position at another institution. I loved what I was doing, but the new job was just too good to pass up. I felt confident though that I was leaving the library in good shape for the next librarian. There was still a lot of outreach to do and the print collection still needed a lot of weeding and adding to. But the heavy lifting of getting a library online was accomplished.

Despite leaving the library in good shape, I am sad to say that it has deteriorated significantly and I worry about its future. The librarian who replaced me did not even stay a whole year in the position. Perhaps she was a square peg and the library was a round hole, I don't know the entire details nor would I like to speculate. But one thing is for sure, without a knowledgeable librarian maintaining the electronic resources and promoting them, usage dropped for the first time. How do I know this? When the librarian left, my previous library asked that I help them out until they could find a replacement. I agreed. I had poured so much of my librarian soul into that library, that I felt I had an obligation to try help out until a replacement was found.

Working full time in another institution, I can only do so much to help. I am not on their IP ranges, I don't have access to the files, license agreements, etc. Really I can only serve as contact person for vendors and the library. I have noticed that things are breaking, linking is not always working, and off campus access is spotty for certain users and certain resources. I try and trouble shoot the problems to the best of my time and ability, but really the library needs a new full time tech savvy librarian to take the reigns. Worse yet I don't see this happening in the near future. They still have not posted the job and I fear that my sense of duty and helping has enabled them to stall the recruitment process.

Walking by the library you would never notice, people still go in the library and use it. But unlike printed books and journals sitting on the shelves, the slow decay of the online collection goes unnoticed by the regular outside world. If a link is broken or an online resource is mysteriously gone, it isn't as obvious as seeing bare shelves. However, the impact is just the same as if the material was missing from the shelves. Unavailable is unavailable.

The Duke Magazine Article, Brave New World, by Jacob Dagger said, some of the traditional methods of library collection, development, and education are changing and have changed with technology. Just because it can be found online by students doesn't mean that it is the best or right resource. I think that is especially true with medical resources. The people are accessing things online, the librarian needs to be at the forefront of this. Because if the library resources aren't available online, searchers are going to find it from another online resource which may or may not be a good one.

The online library is just as important as the physical library people see every day. Just like the physical collection it requires a certain amount of maintenance and work. Just because it is online doesn't mean that a library doesn't need a librarian anymore. Who works on the license agreement, sets up access, maintains access, fixes problems, enhances access, promotes access (nobody wants to pay money for something that isn't used), and works to get better resources online? A librarian. Just because librarians aren't seen stamping, shelving, and copying books doesn't mean they aren't doing their jobs. The role of the librarian has changed, it has become more of an online facilitator to information. The work is more behind the scenes and not immediately apparent. Just because people haven't heard of any problems regarding online access doesn't mean it is all free or easy, it just means librarians are doing their jobs and so that it appears easy and available. Just because people see the physical library doesn't mean that they see the entire amount of library resources.

The library is more than just the books on the shelves, unfortunately that still many people's perception. That can unhinge even the best of efforts, plans, and libraries.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Calling All Hospital Librarians

(courtesy MEDLIB-L)
Do you have a scenario (story) about how your library has significantly helped the hospital financially or in other ways in one of the following areas.

  • Research and Innovation -example: helped the hospital get a large grant (millions of dollars,) or integrate an innovative service
  • Education -example: provided educational support services that saved a residency program
  • Clinical Care -example: supported critical patient care, or provided information at the point of need
  • Management of Operations -example: save a large amount of money, positively impacted the bottomline, or negotiated a great return-on-investment
  • Service -example: contributed to customer service or patient safety in a significant way

The MLA Vital Pathways (Document Group) Task Force intends to include some of these scenarios in the Large Vital Pathways document. This is your chance to toot your own horn and let your colleagues know what a great job you are doing supporting your hospital. Please consider helping to identify supporting evidence to accompany the many skills and talents that we have identified in our document that substantiate the value of the hospital library and most importantly the hospital librarian. They are looking for stories about a paragraph or two in length.

Forward your stories to Rosalind Lett to share them with the group. If you will send your story by September 20th to mfprotts[at]yahoo[dot]com with the subject VPP Scenario, to send the collected works to the VPP group before their next meeting on Sept 24th.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

JCAHO Changes and Libraries

I received an email from HLS-list yesterday about JCAHO and the Standard Improvement Initiative (SII). The SII includes the deletion of IM.4.10 (Information-Based Decision Making) and IM.5.10 (Knowledge-Based Information).

Eliminating both of these standards is "detrimental to medical libraries, which in turn is detrimental to our patrons providing quality patient care services." Carla Funk and Katherine Stemmer Frumento will be sending a letter expressing concerns with the changes and will also attend the annual Liaison Symposium next month, to try and persuade “the powers that be” to rethink this decision.

Meanwhile, you can also express your concern and disapproval of the changes through an online survey. The survey includes comment boxes for you to express your opinion. In her email to the HLS-list Kathy reminds us to word the comments in a positive way, because as her mother always said, “You can catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.”

The survey can be found at

Take a little bit of time out of your day to express your concerns. As Kathy says, "If every HLS member completes the survey, it will send a message that we are a united association, which has strong feelings on the topic."


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

HLS Wiki

I have been playing around and browsing on the HLS Wiki and I like it. I also think it is one of those hidden gems that we hospital librarians need to do more to utilize and support. I can't tell you how many emails that get posted on the MEDLIB-L asking for help, ideas, best practices or resources on statistics, benchmarking, collection development, etc.

This wiki could be a really great resource for those kind of questions, but it needs your help. The wiki depends upon you to provide the information. The more quality information, the more of a help it can be to other hospital librarians.

I know, you are busy and don't have a lot of time at free time or work time to play around with a wiki. I hear ya. However, you don't have to sit there and edit every page or contribute mass amounts of information. Nobody has time for that. But it hardly takes any time to add a brief paragraph and link to something you did that worked. For example, I created an account and logged in and made some minor additions to beef up the front page of the Web 2.0 section. It took me a total of 5-10 minutes.

So here is my proposal. Don't stop the MEDLIB-L questions, I think we can all agree they are helpful and great. But perhaps in addition to sharing on MEDLIB you could also add the resource or example to the HLS wiki. Not only will you be sharing the information with that one person, but you will be providing information to others later on.

Just a thought.

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Hospital Library Toolkit

I saw this toolkit during the poster sessions at MLA and I think it is pretty neat. This toolkit is from the Hospital Library Subcommittee of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/New England Region and it has sample mission statements, goals and objectives, annual reports, a value use library calculator, means of capturing and presenting statistics to hospital administrators, library scope of service checklist and a bibliography on promoting hospital librarianship.

Basically it has a bunch of goodies that hospital librarians should definitely take advantage of and use. I particularly like the value calculator. The example they link to is a public library value calculator, but there are instructions and information for changing it and adapting for your specific library. We have to communicate our value to people who don't understand librarian speak and the best way to do that is to break it down to dollars and cents. It is all about money.

The Sample Goals and Objectives section is helpful. But the one thing I would love to see in this toolkit (or anywhere) is more information on dealing with creating those darn Performance Improvement Plans which I think go hand and hand with a library's goals and objectives. I am forever trying to come up with a performance improvement plan that means something to me and the powers that be. My PIs must be something that can be measured by numbers and support the goal and mission of the library and hospital.

You can find the toolkit at http://nnlm.gov/ner/services/hosp_lib_tookits.html or from the Hospital Library Section Wiki at http://mla-hls.wikispaces.com/.

By the way, the HLS Wiki has a lot of other cool stuff for librarians, so don't forget to use it as a resource and add your helpful information for others to learn from and use.


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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: