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Regional KM Initiative

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Library and Information Science | Medicine and Health Sciences


Research Questions: What are the predominant views of hospital administrators concerning library services that are provided in their institutions? How do they view the role of the librarian? How do they make decisions about what services to provide and how to fund them? What are the predominant views of health sciences librarians concerning the value that is placed on their libraries?

Methods: In 2008, a study was conducted to determine the value of hospital libraries in the New England region. Solicitations for regional participants occurred during May. Twenty-one participants volunteered, constituting equal distribution, both in location (per state) and size (licensed beds). Participants were mailed packets containing a list of scripted questions to pose to hospital administrators, along with interview tips. From June through August, participants conducted interviews with key hospital administrators from their institutions. In October, participants were invited to one of two focus groups to discuss their interview experience with other librarians who participated in the study. Qualitative analysis of compiled data from the focus groups yielded a list of common themes. Results were shared in a report, and a presentation was delivered at the annual meeting of one of the region’s state health sciences library organizations, in April, 2009.

Results: Both groups of librarians participating in the focus groups saw value participating in the study, although the tone of the two groups was somewhat different. The first focus group could be characterized: positive, upbeat, quick paced, and most of the librarians knew their interviewees. This may also have inserted some bias into the mix. On the other hand, the second focus group could be characterized: disappointed, not very positive, and most of the librarians did not know their interviewees.

Conclusions: Six common themes were identified from the focus groups: (1) what people say about the library does influence the administrators responsible for the funding; (2) administrators saw there was a value in librarians serving on committees; (3) the library has value in terms of education, but not in administrator decision making; (4) administrators have difficulty measuring the value of the library beyond numbers; and (5) statistics do matter.

Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, May 23, 2010.


hospital libraries, New England, value, hospital administrators, advocacy

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Goldstein HM, Martin, ER. Value of Hospital Libraries Study. Presentation at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, May 23, 2010.

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2010 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.