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1.  New activities and changing roles of health sciences librarians: a systematic review, 1990–2012 
The paper identifies and documents new health sciences librarian activities and roles during the period from 1990–2012.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted using MEDLINE, Library and Information Abstracts, Library Literature, Scopus, and Web of Science. To find new roles that might not yet have been described in the literature, job announcements published in the Medical Library Association email discussion list archives from 2008–2012 were searched. For inclusion, an article needed to contain a substantive description of a new role and/or activity performed by librarians and be in the field of medical or health sciences librarianship. Papers that did not describe an actual (rather than proposed) librarian role were excluded.
New roles identified through the literature search were: embedded librarians (such as clinical informationist, bioinformationist, public health informationist, disaster information specialist); systematic review librarian; emerging technologies librarian; continuing medical education librarian; grants development librarian; and data management librarian. New roles identified through job announcements were digital librarian, metadata librarian, scholarly communication librarian, and translational research librarian. New twists to old roles were also identified: clinical medical librarian, instruction librarian, outreach librarian, and consumer health librarian.
While the main purposes of health sciences librarianship remain the same, the new roles represent major new activities so that, for many librarians, daily on-the-job work is completely different.
This list of new activities should inform students contemplating medical librarianship careers, guide formal and continuing education programs, and encourage other librarians to consider these new services.
PMCID: PMC3794682  PMID: 24163598
2.  Metropolis revisited: the evolving role of librarians in informatics education for the health professions 
The authors' goal was to assess changes in the role of librarians in informatics education from 2004 to 2013. This is a follow-up to “Metropolis Redux: The Unique Importance of Library Skills in Informatics,” a 2004 survey of informatics programs.
An electronic survey was conducted in January 2013 and sent to librarians via the MEDLIB-L email discussion list, the library section of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Medical Informatics Section of the Medical Library Association, the Information Technology Interest Group of the Association of College and Research Libraries/New England Region, and various library directors across the country.
Librarians from fifty-five institutions responded to the survey. Of these respondents, thirty-four included librarians in nonlibrary aspects of informatics training. Fifteen institutions have librarians participating in leadership positions in their informatics programs. Compared to the earlier survey, the role of librarians has evolved.
Librarians possess skills that enable them to participate in informatics programs beyond a narrow library focus. Librarians currently perform significant leadership roles in informatics education. There are opportunities for librarian interdisciplinary collaboration in informatics programs.
Informatics is much more than the study of technology. The information skills that librarians bring to the table enrich and broaden the study of informatics in addition to adding value to the library profession itself.
PMCID: PMC4279927  PMID: 25552939
3.  A pathway for hospital librarians: why is it vital? 
By the mid 2000s, reports of hospital librarians losing jobs and hospital libraries closing were rife. In 2005, Vital Pathways: The Hospital Libraries Project was established by 2005/06 MLA President M.J. Tooey, AHIP, FMLA, to assess the truth of these reports and to study and develop strategies to support hospital librarians. Throughout this long-term project, opportunities were sought to understand the issues more clearly.
A steering committee, along with three task forces, was established to carry out the work of the project. The steering committee provided oversight and had responsibility for promoting and marketing the project. The three task forces were responsible for conducting a survey on the status of hospital librarians, determining the involvement of librarians in medical education and accreditation, and researching and writing a document reviewing current and future roles for hospital librarians. Along the way, these responsibilities grew and evolved.
After a little more than three years, the Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians Steering Committee presented a final report regarding its accomplishments to the MLA Board of Directors. A sampling of these accomplishments includes the status of hospital librarians survey, a website, a position document with an accompanying executive summary, a short promotional brochure, and a final culminating activity, this symposium.
Although these are difficult times for all libraries, hospital librarians and libraries seem particularly affected. In a competitive health care environment that is driven by the bottom line, influenced by real estate hunger, and affected by the belief of hospital administrators that access to health information comes from the Internet and is free, the hospital librarian seems doomed. However, even in these difficult times, there are hospital librarians who are not only surviving, but thriving. Is it because they are entrepreneurial? Opportunistic? Innovative? Flexible? All of the above? None of the above? There are no clear predictors of success or of failure. However, the Vital Pathways Project has shed light on some of the issues and identified opportunities and strategies for the future.
PMCID: PMC2759155  PMID: 19851490
4.  Emerging roles for biomedical librarians: a survey of current practice, challenges, and changes 
This study is intended to (1) identify emerging roles for biomedical librarians and determine how common these roles are in a variety of library settings, (2) identify barriers to taking on new roles, and (3) determine how librarians are developing the capacity to take on new roles.
A survey was conducted of librarians in biomedical settings.
Most biomedical librarians are taking on new roles. The most common roles selected by survey respondents include analysis and enhancement of user experiences, support for social media, support for systematic reviews, clinical informationist, help for faculty or staff with authorship issues, and implementation of researcher profiling and collaboration tools. Respondents in academic settings are more likely to report new roles than hospital librarians are, but some new roles are common in both settings. Respondents use a variety of methods to free up time for new roles, but predominant methods vary between directors and librarians and between academic and hospital respondents. Lack of time is the biggest barrier that librarians face when trying to adopt new roles. New roles are associated with increased collaboration with individuals and/or groups outside the library.
Conclusion and Implications:
This survey documents the widespread incorporation of new roles in biomedical libraries in the United States, as well as the barriers to adopting these roles and the means by which librarians are making time for them. The results of the survey can be used to inform strategic planning, succession planning, library education, and career development for biomedical librarians.
PMCID: PMC3794683  PMID: 24163599
5.  Vital pathways for hospital librarians: present and future roles 
The research objectives were to (1) describe the current and future roles of hospital librarians and the challenges they face and (2) find evidence supporting the hypothesis that librarians are essential to hospitals in achieving the organizations' mission-critical goals.
The authors used results from a previous research study that identified the five organizational mission-critical goals important to hospital administrators and then searched the literature and solicited examples from hospital librarians to describe the librarian's role in helping hospitals achieve these goals.
The literature supports the hypothesis that hospital librarians play important roles in the success of the hospital. Librarians support quality clinical care, efficient and effective hospital operations, continuing education for staff, research and innovation, and patient, family, and community health information needs.
Hospital librarians fulfill many mission-critical roles in today's hospital, providing the right information at the right time in a variety of ways to enhance hospital and medical staff effectiveness, optimize patient care, improve patient outcomes, and increase patient and family satisfaction with the hospital and its services. Because hospital librarians and their services provide an excellent return on investment for the hospital and help the hospital keep its competitive edge, hospital staff should have access to the services of a professional librarian.
PMCID: PMC2759170  PMID: 19851493
6.  The role of expert searching in the Family Physicians' Inquiries Network (FPIN)* 
Objective: This article describes the contributions of medical librarians, as members of the Family Physicians' Inquiries Network (FPIN), to the creation of a database of clinical questions and answers that allows family physicians to practice evidence-based medicine using high-quality information at the point of care. The medical librarians have contributed their evidence-based search expertise and knowledge of information systems that support the processes and output of the consortium.
Methods: Since its inception, librarians have been included as valued members of the FPIN community. FPIN recognizes the search expertise of librarians, and each FPIN librarian must meet qualifications demonstrating appropriate experience and training in evidence-based medicine. The consortium works collaboratively to produce the Clinical Inquiries series published in family medicine publications.
Results: Over 170 Clinical Inquiries have appeared in Journal of Family Practice (JFP) and American Family Physician (AFP). Surveys have shown that this series has become the most widely read part of the JFP Website. As a result, FPIN has formalized specific librarian roles that have helped build the organizational infrastructure.
Conclusions: All of the activities of the consortium are highly collaborative, and the librarian community reflects that. The FPIN librarians are valuable and equal contributors to the process of creating, updating, and maintaining high-quality clinical information for practicing primary care physicians. Of particular value is the skill of expert searching that the librarians bring to FPIN's products.
PMCID: PMC545127  PMID: 15685280
7.  The health sciences librarian in medical education: a vital pathways project task force 
The Medical Education Task Force of the Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians reviewed current and future roles of health sciences librarians in medical education at the graduate and undergraduate levels and worked with national organizations to integrate library services, education, and staff into the requirements for training medical students and residents.
Standards for medical education accreditation programs were studied, and a literature search was conducted on the topic of the role of the health sciences librarian in medical education.
Expectations for library and information services in current standards were documented, and a draft standard prepared. A comprehensive bibliography on the role of the health sciences librarian in medical education was completed, and an analysis of the services provided by health sciences librarians was created.
An essential role and responsibility of the health sciences librarian will be to provide the health care professional with the skills needed to access, manage, and use library and information resources effectively. Validation and recognition of the health sciences librarian's contributions to medical education by accrediting agencies will be critical. The opportunity lies in health sciences librarians embracing the diverse roles that can be served in this vital activity, regardless of accrediting agency mandates.
PMCID: PMC2759163  PMID: 19851492
8.  Reference librarians' perceptions of the issues they face as academic health information professionals 
Background: Leaders in the profession encourage academic health sciences librarians to assume new roles as part of the growth process for remaining vital professionals. Have librarians embraced these new roles?
Objectives: This research sought to examine from the reference librarians' viewpoints how their roles have changed over the past ten years and what the challenges these changes present as viewed by both the librarians and library directors.
Method: A series of eight focus groups was conducted with reference librarians from private and public academic health sciences libraries. Directors of these libraries were interviewed separately.
Results: Reference librarians' activities have largely confirmed the role changes anticipated by their leaders. They are teaching more, engaging in outreach through liaison initiatives, and designing Web pages, in addition to providing traditional reference duties. Librarians offer insights into unanticipated issues encountered in each of these areas and offer some creative solutions. Directors discuss the issues from their unique perspective.
Conclusion: Librarians have identified areas for focusing efforts in lifelong learning. Adult learning theory, specialized databases and resources needed by researchers, ever-evolving technology, and promotion and evaluation of the library are areas needing attention. Implications for library education and continuing professional development are presented.
PMCID: PMC385304  PMID: 15098052
9.  Metropolis redux: the unique importance of library skills in informatics 
Objectives: The objective is to highlight the important role that librarians have in teaching within a successful medical informatics program. Librarians regularly utilize skills that, although not technology dependent, are essential to conducting computer-based research. The Metropolis analogy is used to introduce the part librarians play as informatics partners. Science fiction is a modern mythology that, beyond a technical exterior, has lasting value in its ability to reflect the human condition. The teaching of medical informatics, an intersection of technology and knowledge, is also most relevant when it transcends the operation of databases and systems. Librarians can teach students to understand, research, and utilize information beyond specific technologies.
Methods: A survey of twenty-six informatics programs was conducted during 2002, with specific emphasis on the role of the library service.
Results: The survey demonstrated that librarians currently do have a central role in informatics instruction, and that library-focused skills form a significant part of the curriculum in many of those programs. In addition, librarians have creative opportunities to enhance their involvement in informatics training. As a sample program in the study, the development of the informatics course at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is included.
Conclusions: Medical informatics training is a wonderful opportunity for librarians to collaborate with professionals from the sciences and other information disciplines. Librarians' unique combination of human research and technology skills provides a valuable contribution to any program.
PMCID: PMC385302  PMID: 15098050
10.  Utilization of the medical librarian in a state Medicaid program to provide information services geared to health policy and health disparities 
Objective: The role of two solo medical librarians in supporting Medicaid programs by functioning as information specialists at regional and state levels is examined.
Setting: A solo librarian for the Massachusetts Medicaid (MassHealth) program and a solo librarian for the New England States Consortium Systems Organization (NESCSO) functioned as information specialists in context to support Medicaid policy development and clinical, administrative, and program staff for state Medicaid programs.
Brief Description: The librarian for MassHealth initially focused on acquiring library materials and providing research support on culturally competent health care and outreach, as part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care Standards. The NESCSO librarian focused on state Medicaid system issues surrounding the implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The research focus expanded for both the librarians, shaping their roles to more directly support clinical and administrative policy development. Of note, the availability and dissemination of information to policy leaders facilitated efforts to reduce health disparities. In Massachusetts, this led to a state legislative special commission to eliminate health disparities, which released a report in November 2005. On a regional level, the NESCSO librarian provided opportunities for states in New England to share ideas and Medicaid program information. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare are working with NESCSO to explore the potential for using the NESCSO model for collaboration for other regions of the United States.
Results/Outcomes: With the increased attention on evidence-based health care and reduction of health disparities, medical librarians are called on to support a variety of health care information needs. Nationally, state Medicaid programs are being called on to provide coverage and make complex medical decisions regarding the delivery of benefits. Increasing numbers of beneficiaries and shrinking Medicaid budgets demand effective and proactive decision making to provide quality care and to accomplish the missions of state Medicaid programs. In this environment, the opportunities for information professionals to provide value and knowledge management are increasing.
PMCID: PMC1435841  PMID: 16636710
11.  The evolving role of the librarian in evidence-based medicine. 
Librarians' participation in evidence-based medicine (EBM) is rooted in past practices, most notably in clinical medical librarianship. EBM extends the librarians' role beyond identification of the literature to involvement in practicing and teaching quality filtering and critical appraisal of the literature. These activities require librarians to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. A professional development program for librarians at the Library of the Health Sciences (LHS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is described. The program's goals are to increase librarians' skills and support the EBM curricular initiative at the UIC College of Medicine (COM). The unique program has been a collaborative effort of the LHS and the COM. The locally developed classes provide librarians with instruction in clinical study designs, statistical concepts, and critical appraisal of the literature. Other interventions such as an EBM round table are also described. The programs' success is measured by librarians' growing involvement in EBM medical curricula, journal clubs, and morning reports. Additionally, librarians gained competence in new skills and professional satisfaction from working collegially with COM students, residents, and faculty.
PMCID: PMC226592  PMID: 10427434
12.  Exploring the roles of librarians and health care professionals involved with complementary and alternative medicine* 
Objectives: The researcher conducted qualitative research about the role of health care professionals and librarians involved with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The goals were to identify resources these professionals use to explore the librarians' role as well as their approaches to teaching and searching with respect to CAM, to acquire information about CAM education, and to connect with other librarians in the CAM field.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were used.
Results: Sixteen health care and information professionals from ten different institutions in Boston, Baltimore, and Calgary were interviewed. Major themes from the interviews were: CAM funding, integration of CAM and conventional medicine, roles of librarians, “hot” CAM issues, and information access. Information about four aspects of CAM education—technology, undergraduate, graduate, and continuing—is presented. A wealth of information resources was identified.
Conclusions: A CAM librarian's role is unique; many specialize in specific areas of CAM, and opportunities exist for librarians to partner with CAM groups. CAM information professionals' major roles involve information access and retrieval and education. Further study is required concerning CAM consumer health, integrative CAM and conventional medicine models, and the librarian's role in a CAM environment. CAM funding is a major concern.
PMCID: PMC1324776  PMID: 16404474
13.  Expert searcher, teacher, content manager, and patient advocate: an exploratory study of clinical librarian roles 
The research explored the roles of practicing clinical librarians embedded in a patient care team.
Six clinical librarians from Canada and one from the United States were interviewed to elicit detailed descriptions of their clinical roles and responsibilities and the context in which these were performed.
Participants were embedded in a wide range of clinical service areas, working with a diverse complement of health professionals. As clinical librarians, participants wore many hats, including expert searcher, teacher, content manager, and patient advocate. Unique aspects of how these roles played out included a sense of urgency surrounding searching activities, the broad dissemination of responses to clinical questions, and leverage of the roles of expert searcher, teacher, and content manager to advocate for patients.
Detailed role descriptions of clinical librarians embedded in patient care teams suggest possible new practices for existing clinical librarians, provide direction for training new librarians working in patient care environments, and raise awareness of the clinical librarian specialty among current and budding health information professionals.
PMCID: PMC3543140  PMID: 23405048
14.  Preselecting literature for routine delivery to physicians in a community hospital-based patient care related reading program. 
Health sciences librarians have been actively responding to the changing information needs of users by extending services which involve the selection of literature in response to specific requests from health care personnel. A further development is Patient Care Related Reading (PCRR), a hospital-based program of continuing medical education in which the librarian actively participates in the preselection, packaging, and routine delivery of literature for use by physicians caring for patients with certain clinical disorders. Criteria for selection of literature packet topics were developed jointly by librarians and physicians at their own hospitals. Librarians compiled bibliographic material, reviewed articles, and prepared preliminary packets. Physicians reviewed these packets and made suggestions for each article. Librarians then prepared final packets following reviewers' recommendations and distributed them as a routine procedure to all physicians caring for patients with a diagnosis corresponding to prepared topics. Librarians were notified of patients with PCRR clinical problems by admitting office personnel, floor nurses, nursing supervisors, utilization review, and Professional Standards Review Organization personnel as a part of their usual activities. Packets are used by physicians to add to their fund of knowledge, and for review and teaching purposes. PCRR has provided increased visibility of the library and its many services. Recognition of the librarian's role in the program reinforces the concept of the community hospital library as a service-oriented entity, and helps to establish the library as an active partner in the development and implementation of hospital-based continuing education programs.
PMCID: PMC226795  PMID: 7225658
15.  The librarian's roles in the systematic review process: a case study* 
Question/Setting: Although the systematic review has become a research standard, little information addresses the actions of the librarian on a systematic review team.
Method: This article is an observational case study that chronicles a librarian's required involvement, skills, and responsibilities in each stage of a real-life systematic review.
Main Results: Examining the review process reveals that the librarian's multiple roles as an expert searcher, organizer, and analyzer form an integral part of the Cochrane Collaboration's criteria for conducting systematic reviews. Moreover, the responsibilities of the expert searcher directly reflect the key skills and knowledge depicted in the “Definition of Expert Searching” section of the Medical Library Association's policy statement, “Role of Expert Searching in Health Sciences Libraries.”
Conclusion: Although the librarian's multiple roles are important in all forms of medical research, they are crucial in a systematic review. As an expert searcher, the librarian must interact with the investigators to develop the terms required for a comprehensive search strategy in multiple appropriate sources. As an organizer and analyzer, the librarian must effectively manage the articles and document the search, retrieval, and archival processes.
PMCID: PMC545126  PMID: 15685279
16.  Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians* 
This lecture, reflecting on future roles, posits the potential dawning of a “great age of librarians,” if librarians make the conceptual shift of focusing on their own skills and activities rather than on their libraries.
In the digital age, physical libraries are becoming less relevant to the communities that they serve. Librarians, however, are more necessary than ever in helping members of their communities navigate the increasingly complex information space. To meet their social responsibilities requires that librarians seek new roles and recognize that their most important activities will take place outside of the physical library.
A great age of librarians is possible, but not guaranteed. We are at the very beginning of the development of a digital culture that parallels the print culture that has been dominant for five hundred years. Innovative and creative librarians have the potential to shape the development of that culture in ways that will truly serve the needs of their communities.
PMCID: PMC3257492  PMID: 22272154
17.  Librarians’ Role in Development and Achievement of Central Library Users’ Information Literacy (a Case Study: Iran) 
Materia Socio-Medica  2013;25(4):238-241.
Due to the development of technologies, communications, databases and information resource varieties in today’s information age, our various social, economic, cultural and political needs cannot be fulfilled by relying merely on past knowledge and skills as done previously. Information literacy (IL) as a set of necessary skills for all of us is an effective way of treating new technologies and their effective application in our lives. The study aimed to survey the library users’ views in the Central Library of Babol University of Medical Sciences (The Library), Iran, on the role and influences of librarians on their IL development and improvement.
This analytical survey used a researcher-made questionnaire for data collection. Research population consisted of all users referring Information Unit of The Library during 22 September - 20 December 2010. Of them, 150 users participating in at least 5 workshops held by The Library were selected as the study sample.
Based on the findings, 52.7 percent of the subjects rated the influence of the librarians on their IL development much and very much. 44.7 percent claimed that they more acquired IL skills from librarians rather than others. 100 (63.3%) subjects preferred workshops held by the librarian to other workshops.
The users of Information Unit of The Library perceived the training IL skills by librarians as a main influencing factor in their IL development and achievement. This emphasized the necessity of teaching IL to users and training the librarians in better teaching IL skills to library user.
PMCID: PMC3914755  PMID: 24511265
Information Literacy; Library Users; Librarians; Babol University of Medical Sciences; Iran.
18.  Raising the bar: the importance of hospital library standards in the continuing medical education accreditation process* 
The Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) reviews and accredits the continuing medical education (CME) programs offered by Connecticut's hospitals. As part of the survey process, the CSMS assesses the quality of the hospitals' libraries. In 1987, the CSMS adopted the Medical Library Association's (MLA's) “Minimum Standards for Health Sciences Libraries in Hospitals.” In 1990, professional librarians were added to the survey team and, later, to the CSMS CME Committee. Librarians participating in this effort are recruited from the membership of the Connecticut Association of Health Sciences Librarians (CAHSL). The positive results of having a qualified librarian on the survey team and the invaluable impact of adherence to the MLA standards are outlined. As a direct result of this process, hospitals throughout the state have added staffing, increased space, and added funding for resources during an era of cutbacks. Some hospital libraries have been able to maintain a healthy status quo, while others have had proposed cuts reconsidered by administrators for fear of losing valuable CME accreditation status. Creating a relationship with an accrediting agency is one method by which hospital librarians elsewhere may strengthen their efforts to ensure adequate library resources in an era of downsizing. In addition, this collaboration has provided a new and important role for librarians to play on an accreditation team.
PMCID: PMC34560  PMID: 11465686
19.  Community-based organizations' perspective on health information outreach: a panel discussion* 
Journal of the Medical Library Association  2005;93(4 Suppl):S35-S42.
Objective: A panel was convened to elicit guidance for librarians in initiating and implementing community-based health information outreach.
Participants: Participants included a panel of individuals from communities or community organizations who represented the types of groups with which librarians or information specialists need to interact and an audience who represented health sciences libraries, public libraries, academic institutions, government agencies, funding agencies, and community-based organizations and could contribute to a discussion on community-based health information outreach.
Program: The panel was presented with a hypothetical community setting and asked to respond to a series of questions: What do librarians need to learn about the community before they make their visits? What methods of outreach have been successful in your work? How would you implement and sustain a health information program in your community? How would health information interventions reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health?
Main Results: The panel helped to frame many of the issues that may confront librarians as they initiate information-related programs in communities.
Conclusion: There is clear consensus on the need for librarians to make the effort to reach out into the community, to make the contacts, to seek to understand the community, to talk with leaders, and to respect the community as they promote and teach the use of health information resources. It was confirmed that librarians and libraries have an important role in diminishing health disparities by improving access to health information.
PMCID: PMC1255751  PMID: 16239956
20.  Library roles in disaster response: an oral history project by the National Library of Medicine*† 
To develop a knowledgebase of stories illustrating the variety of roles that librarians can assume in emergency and disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery, the National Library of Medicine conducted an oral history project during the summer of 2007. The history aimed to describe clearly and compellingly the activities—both expected and unusual—that librarians performed during and in the aftermath of the disasters. While various types of libraries were included in interviews, the overall focus of the project was on elucidating roles for medical libraries.
Using four broad questions as the basis for telephone and email interviews, the investigators recorded the stories of twenty-three North American librarians who responded to bombings and other acts of terrorism, earthquakes, epidemics, fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornados.
Through the process of conducting the oral history, an understanding of multiple roles for libraries in disaster response emerged. The roles fit into eight categories: institutional supporters, collection managers, information disseminators, internal planners, community supporters, government partners, educators and trainers, and information community builders.
Librarians—particularly health sciences librarians—made significant contributions to preparedness and recovery activities surrounding recent disasters. Lessons learned from the oral history project increased understanding of and underscored the value of collaborative relationships between libraries and local, state, and federal disaster management agencies and organizations.
PMCID: PMC2568836  PMID: 18974811
21.  New measures for new roles: defining and measuring the current practices of health sciences librarians 
The roles of academic health sciences librarians are continually evolving as librarians initiate new programs and services in response to developments in computer technology and user demands. However, statistics currently collected by libraries do not accurately reflect or measure these new roles. It is essential for librarians to document, measure, and evaluate these new activities to continue to meet the needs of users and to ensure the viability of their professional role. To determine what new measures should be compiled, the authors examined current statistics, user demands, professional literature, and current activities of librarians as reported in abstracts of poster sessions at Medical Library Association annual meetings. Three new categories of services to be measured are proposed. The first, consultation, groups activities such as quality filtering and individual point-of-need instruction. The second, outreach, includes activities such as working as liaisons, participating in grand rounds or morning report, and providing continuing education. The third area, Web authoring, encompasses activities such as designing Web pages, creating online tutorials, and developing new products. Adding these three measures to those already being collected will provide a more accurate and complete depiction of the services offered by academic health sciences librarians.
PMCID: PMC100761  PMID: 11999174
22.  Pivoting: leveraging opportunities in a turbulent health care environment* 
The purpose of this lecture is to challenge librarians in clinical settings to leverage the opportunities presented by the current health care environment and to develop collaborative relationships with health care practitioners to provide relevant services.
Health care organizations are under financial and regulatory pressures, and many hospital librarians have been downsized or have had their positions eliminated. The lecture briefly reviews hospital librarians' roles in the past but focuses primarily on our current challenges. This environment requires librarians to be opportunity focused and pivot to a new vision that directs their actions. Many librarians are already doing this, and colleagues are encouraging us to embrace these opportunities. Evidence from publications, websites, discussion lists, personal communications, and the author's experience is explored.
Developing interdisciplinary and collaborative relationships in our institutions and providing relevant services will mark our progress as vital, contributing members of our health care organizations.
PMCID: PMC4279930  PMID: 25552938
23.  Trends in hospital librarianship and hospital library services: 1989 to 2006 
The research studied the status of hospital librarians and library services to better inform the Medical Library Association's advocacy activities.
The Vital Pathways Survey Subcommittee of the Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians distributed a web-based survey to hospital librarians and academic health sciences library directors. The survey results were compared to data collected in a 1989 survey of hospital libraries by the American Hospital Association in order to identify any trends in hospital libraries, roles of librarians, and library services. A web-based hospital library report form based on the survey questions was also developed to more quickly identify changes in the status of hospital libraries on an ongoing basis.
The greatest change in library services between 1989 and 2005/06 was in the area of access to information, with 40% more of the respondents providing access to commercial online services, 100% more providing access to Internet resources, and 28% more providing training in database searching and use of information resources. Twenty-nine percent (n = 587) of the 2005/06 respondents reported a decrease in staff over the last 5 years.
Survey data support reported trends of consolidation of hospitals and hospital libraries and additions of new services. These services have likely required librarians to acquire new skills. It is hoped that future surveys will be undertaken to continue to study these trends.
PMCID: PMC2759173  PMID: 19851491
24.  Preparing Librarians to Meet the Challenges of Today's Health Care Environment 
Objective: Refine the understanding of the desirable skills for health sciences librarians as a basis for developing a training program model that reflects the fundamental changes in health care delivery and information technology.
Design: A four-step needs assessment process: focus groups developed lists of desirable skills; the research team organized candidate skills into a taxonomy; a survey of a random sample of librarians and library users assessed perception of importance of individual skills; and the research team framed, as a unifying hypothesis, a training model.
Survey methods: The survey was distributed to random samples of 150 librarians, stratified by type of library, and 150 library users, stratified by type of use. A non-randomized sample was obtained by mounting the survey on a World Wide Web server. The survey instrument included 96 distinct skills organized into 13 categories. Respondents rated the importance of each skill on a Likert scale and provided a separate ranking by identifying the ten most important skills for the profession.
Results: Among the participants, 51% of librarians and 36% of library users responded to the survey. All categories of skills were rated above the midpoint of priority on the Likert scale. All groups rated personality characteristics and skills as most important, with an understanding of the health sciences, education, and research being rated comparably to technical skills.
Conclusions: Health sciences librarians need a new educational model that provides them with broad-based tools to discover new roles and new resources for acquiring individual skills as the need arises. A unifying training model would involve trainees in developing their learning plan in a way that promotes proactive inquiry and self-directed learning, and it would rotate the trainees through projects to provide skills and an understanding of end-user work processes.
PMCID: PMC61199  PMID: 8988475
25.  Innovation and education: unlimited potential for the teaching library. 
The information age demands that health sciences librarians take active roles in the educational process. Librarians have traditionally taught users how to access information. Now, with the proliferation of information, librarians must accept new roles and teach the user efficient techniques for evaluating and processing information as well. Innovative roles for librarians at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center include teaching users to use technology for information management, to appraise literature critically for quality, and to develop skills for lifelong learning. This paper reviews the history of educational activities in health sciences libraries and describes the teaching programs at Texas Tech.
PMCID: PMC227296  PMID: 2720206

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