UMMS Affiliation

Lamar Soutter Library

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Sciences and Medical Librarianship


Background: The Lamar Soutter Library serves UMass Memorial Healthcare and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which consists of the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Biomedical Sciences. In pursuit of our mission to help our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were called upon to provide clinical support in new ways as we also adapted to the “new normal” of working from home, social distancing, and remote interactions.

Description: The Education and Clinical Services department (ECS) typically supports the clinical system by attending clinical rounds, staffing multiple library locations, providing education around information resources, and supporting literature searches. During COVID-19, many of our usual methods of support were not possible because we could not be there in person, and because educational pursuits were repurposed to answer the call for staffing and training during the pandemic. The need for immediate information and the desire to help meant demands for evidence-based information increased. To answer the call, ECS librarians had to learn new skills, come up with creative approaches, and stay up to date with an ever-changing information landscape.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic was a force for change in the relationship between ECS and the clinical environment we support. Although it is wrong to say there is a silver lining to this tragedy, we have become more creative, more adaptive, and more flexible. We better understand the needs of our clinical community and are more proactive and confident in our approach to working with them. It was evident that our impact was felt by the response to our offers for new resident orientations. There was an almost 200% increase in the number of sessions (7 to 20) during March to September 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. The skills we learned and the relationships we formed have changed the way we will approach clinical support going forward.


COVID-19, medical libraries, clinical support, skills

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Copyright 2020 the Authors

DOI of Published Version


Journal/Book/Conference Title

NAHSL 2020: NAHSL in Action

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.