Posts Tagged ‘medical library’

Today I went to visit the Cairns Library before my placement starts there in March (starting on the 3rd March I will shadow someone there every Wednesday for five weeks). I met with the head of Oxford Healthcare Libraries (HCL), and he showed me round the library and gave me some background information on the healthcare libraries as a whole.

We also discussed the matter of the user survey I will carry out for them; and I sat with another librarian (who incidentally I know through NHS Evidence as he is involved with another specialist collection and we have met before) to introduce me to http://www.surveymonkey.com/ which I will be using to conduct the user survey. It is fairly straight forward to use and as such I’m not particularly worried. As for the survey, I am not creating it from scratch: someone else started it last summer and it has not been touched since. The HCL are supposed to carry out some sort of user survey every year, and as such want the survey to at least be circulated before the end of the financial year. My job is to edit the survey; check it through; run a small test survey; circulate the survey in March/April for a month or so; and then analyse the results. I’m excited to get on with it!

The Cairns Library itself is a University library (with links to both Oxford University and Oxford Brookes – the former being the primary); but also an NHS library (being based in a hospital, and with the needs of healthcare professionals who may not be affiliated with either University). The HCL as a whole is comprised of both the Cairns Library (based at the John Radcliffe Hospital) and the Knowledge Centre (based at a facility on the Old Road Campus). There are around 25,000 books within the HCL, and approximately one-third are out on loan at one time. The Cairns also host a number of paper journals; but this number is decreasing as more are made available electronically.

I have wandered through the library a few times (either for meetings with another NHS Evidence specialist collection which is based there; or to IMSU for computer problems) but have never had a look around as such. The only other hospital/healthcare library I have ever been to was at my local hospital years ago when my Mum was doing various courses (she was a midwife) and visited the local hospital library, and I trailed along after her. The library was small and quiet to the extreme (are medical students/professionals inclined to be more quiet in libraries I wonder?!) and I loved it! The Cairns library in comparison is larger (but by no means comparative to the other University libraries!) and with a medley of users (medical students, healthcare professionals (consultants, nurses/midwives etc), research staff/students, teaching staff, and even administration/management staff).

There are many different roles within a library to begin with; and a healthcare library has additional roles such as ‘Outreach Librarians’ and librarians who are more clinically/medically trained to be of use to the HCL users. My placement which has been organised will see me shadowing different people and different roles in the time I am there, and I can’t wait!

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