HSLG2013 – Day 1 – the morning

hslg-logo-165pxYesterday I attended my first Health Sciences Library Group (HSLG) Conference which was on at the Radisson Blu hotel  in Dublin city centre.

For this conference the sponsors were BMJGroup, EBSCO, Elsevier (encompassing ClinicalKeyE-library and Journals Consult), ProQuest, Springer, Swets and Wolters Kluwer Health (OvidSP).   Funding was also provided by The Book Nest.   Sponsorship is a very important part of any conference and it was great to see so much support, as well as having the opportunity to pick up some leaflets on the different offerings from each of the sponsors.   I was interested to  note that a number of sponsors were running competitions to win Kindle devices but I forgot to ask them whether their content could actually be downloaded to the Kindles when I was filling out my entry forms.

The conference started off with a keynote presentation by Jean Shipman, the director of the Eccles Health Science Library at the University of Utah (UU).   She gave a fascinating look a the changing face of the library in Utah, including

  • the use of digital communications technology to conduct weekly meetings with staff in remote locations
  • the implementation of Toyota’s LEAN programme and the prospect of having librarians as LEAN trainers
  • creating a “community centre” rather than a library by removing two third of the print collection and creating more open collaborative spaces
  • development of the Research Information Service (RISe) and the communication plans for branding the library
  • changing the exterior of the library by replacing metal sheeting with plaques celebrating the historical discoveries of the university
  • using our organising skills to organise people, not books, thereby reinventing the library as the heart of the campus rather than simply being a part of it.

She had lots of photographs of the changes to the library which really hammered home the message about the changing environments.  I particularly liked the way in which she linked  the blueprint of the new library space with photographs, clicking through each space so that it felt like you were actually navigating your way through the library.  I was able to clearly see how it was all laid out.  

Jean was followed by Dr. Ian Callanan, Clinical Audit Co-ordinator of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group, who opened by noting that Jean had just blown all his preconceptions about librarians out of the water.   Conscious of his audience he didn’t hold back on medical jargon, instead choosing to clarify key terms so that there was no ambiguity before proceeding with his presentation.   He defined Clinical Audit as the “systematic review and evaluation of current practice with reference to research based standards with a view to improving patient health care” and went on to clarify that standards and guidelines are not the same, despite the current vogue for using them interchangably.   Guidelines are recommendations which may be followed.   Standards are rules which must be followed.

He was a very engaging speaker, demonstrating quite a pragmatic approach to clinical audit.  He pointed out that small numbers of audits done frequently takes less energy and requires less energy to make changes than one very large audit which may provide the numbers but correspondingly may also exhaust all willingness to respond to any problems which are identified.   In addition, it is important to gather the right data as in many cases clinicians are not aware of what standard they should be auditing to.  This is where the librarian’s skills come into play.   His comments were supported by Niamh Lucey, Librarian at St. Vincent’s Hospital who, during the questions session, highlighted that she and her colleague Anne Madden are on the clinical audit team in St. Vincent’s and the value of their contribution to that team.   Anne Murphy from Tallaght Hospital suggested that health librarians could lead the way in encouraging the establishment of clinical audit teams in organisations where they do not currently exist.

Aoife Lawton then took the podium to talk about the Status of Health Librarianship &. libraries in Ireland (SHELLI) report and the need to futureproof health libraries.    Aoife pointed out that unless we know what success looks like for a Health Service librarian we won’t be able to move forward.  Although it is not possible to implement everything recommended by SHELLI, it is vital that work begins on implementing the key recommendations.

Anne Murphy followed up on the theme of Emerging from SHELLI, talking about establishing the SHELLI working group, the need for clarity around the timeframes identified in the report and recommending that everyone should (if not in a position to read the whole report) at least read chapter 5 of SHELLI.

Next up was Donna O’Doibhlin from UL to talk to us about upskilling.   She talked about the Specialist Diploma in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship, the development of formal information literacy modules and the importance of librarians both giving and receiving training.  One of the main benefits for librarians in giving training was that it improved their confidence, particularly when peer reviewed.   Another was that academics who attended the course altered their perceptions of librarians and began to view them as colleagues.

Krishna De spoke to us about integrating technology into the library marketing plan using the P.O.W.E.R. model (Purpose, Outcome, What/Why/Where/Who, Engaging content, Results).  One very interesting suggestion she made was to become a platform champion, developing expertise and giving presentations, similar to the presentations which Michelle Dalton has given in relation to using Twitter.  Krishna also highlighted the importance of getting access to your own analytics so that you can see what type of device your users are accessing your site with.  She also spoke about the importance of both putting policies in place around social network use (if they don’t already exist in your organisation) or adhering to the policies (if they do exist).    The final point I really enjoyed was her comment on Infographics.  We can get very wrapped up in needing to use the latest technology but sometimes drawing it out with pen and paper and then scanning it in can work just as well (and take much less time) than trying to use fancy software to create an image.

I’ll fill you in on the afternoon’s speakers in my next post…


About Caroline

Librarian. Bibliophile. Information seeker and sharer. “Life would be unbearably dull if we had answers to all our questions.” ― Jim Butcher, Death Masks
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