Libraries, Medical; Library Technical Services
Library and Information Science
Objective: Describe how technical services librarians at an academic medical center have embraced opportunities for campus outreach. The Library has long been committed to teamwork. As members of cross-departmental Library teams and campus-wide task forces, technical services librarians have utilized skills in information organization, integrated library systems, and problem solving to benefit colleagues, faculty, clinicians, students, and the public.
Methods: Case study: Since the arrival of a new Director in 1998, much of the work of the Library is accomplished through cross-functional teams. Technical services librarians have contributed significantly to these teams and to campus-wide task forces. For a project to create a database of medical images, library catalogers performed crucial roles in developing a database and record structure, maintaining quality control, writing documentation, and training faculty members. This team is now collaborating with Academic Computing staff to develop an institutional repository. Within the Library, a cataloger joined an access services team charged with examining the problem of unreturned books, enhancing the team with skills in integrated library systems, problem solving, and report writing. Recognizing the importance of open access, a technical services librarian organized a well-attended forum and display for the campus and the public.
Results: The positive impact of technical services outreach included new and enhanced services and products, professional satisfaction, improved communication among staff, and better access to library materials. Technical services librarians are better known to the larger campus community. Staff development, collaboration, and outreach were enhanced by a Library renovation that kept the Technical Services department in close proximity to public services areas and the Library training room. In the Library there is now a true partnership with public services staff, and an increased appreciation for the skill set of technical services librarians.
Conclusions: Technical Services librarians should not hesitate to break out of the back room and participate in outreach activities. Their skills can be of tremendous value to cross-departmental library teams and broader efforts. This outreach benefits the librarians, the Library, and the user community.
Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, on May 15, 2005.
campus outreach, teamwork