25 July 2007


There is a very good article in the latest issue of Journal of Hospital Librarianship by Michelle Helliwill [Eastern Kings Memorial Community Health Centre, Kingsville, Nova Scota, Canada]. In "Comfy Chairs, Lovely Books, andn No Librarian: What Is the Professional Standard for Setting Up a CHIS? [Consumer Health Information Centre]," she uses a good example of how to get the message across that a library must have a librarian.

"Imagine the following: A librarian, working in a busy hospital, sees a need to help patients sitting for long waiting periods at the walk in clinic. He gathers a small committee including representatives form HR, laundry, and information systems. They decide to set up a room for patients--it will have some bandages, perhaps some pain relievers, throat lozenges, and other materials, including a reference book on common ailments. It will be open three or four days a week, with a volunteer who has first aid training. The call it a 'self-serve' clinic.

"This seems like a ridiculous scenario, and it would never be allowed to happen. Indeed, what physician, nurse or other health care practitioner would even agree to entertain such an idea? Yet the undertaking of a 'patient library' that leaves out the librarian in the planning or the management of this service does occur." She calls this "the good intention room."

Sound familiar? I've also used the argument that you wouldn't hire an amateur to manage the organization's books, so why would you do the same for your information resources?

This is a sample of the good articles in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship--which costs a whole US$40 per year (4 issues of over 100 pages). You should check it out.

URL for the Journal: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=J186

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