Friday, 20 November 2015

London & the South East NHS/HE Libraries Conference 2015

I was lucky enough to attend the London & the South East NHS/HE Libraries Conference 2015 which took place on the 19th of November at Stewart House in London. It was a very good day for networking, putting faces to names and reconnecting with colleagues. I was able to tweet and get an impression of others thoughts thanks to the free WIFI offered. After a gracious welcome from the London Strategic Lead for Library Services & eLearning HENCEL, Richard Osborn, Health Education England's National Programme Manager for Library and Knowledge Services, Louise Goswami gave us an update on the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework. She referred to the use of the NHS Library Services website in the absence of a Knowledge Hub as a place to put updates for the programme and the KfH blog for regular alerts. She also referred to the use of social media for updates e.g. #HEELKS @K4H_PPI on twitter and publications being produced in professional press.

She talked about the need to make noise about the value of the Knowledge and Library Service in order to effect change and the vital need for partnerships such as Public Health England, Pulic Libraries, Sconul and CILIP. Issues relating to the different task and finish groups were also touched upon e.g. Metrics, current awareness, streamlining, authentication, open access, repositories, collaborative procurement, resource discovery and more. A name to describe the Knowledge Hub when it is established was raised.

Next up was Ben Skinner, Head of Knowledge and Library Services at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. It was interesting to hear the progress being made on KnowledgeShare as the Knowledge and Library Services at Barts Health NHS Trust started using it in August. He gave a general overview of the web based resource and a live demonstration. What was in the works, how far they had come, the obstacles faced and the struggles ahead. I am particularly interested in seeing whether giving users direct access to it will create difficulties for LKS staff. Like everything else, they will need to be trained but how much of it is retained. The idea does have merit though as it would allow users to book sessions, download certificates and give feedback without having to contact the Library. From a Librarian's perspective, I have found it useful to view search strategies of colleagues who have done searches on topics similar to that which I am attempting. It really does save me the time of racking my brains. I can also see others across the region whose roles are similar to mine one of whom I met at the conference.

Next was a speed dating session with the exhibitors which included Wiley, Dynamed, ClinicalKey, ProQuest, Sage and more. In true Librarian fashion, I was happy to fleece pens and bags. My weakness. This was followed by lunch and my rumbling tummy was aghast to find we had no cutlery but in true superhero style, Fatima Almeda swooped in and saved the day and my rumbling tummy. I also took this opportunity to peruse the posters on display.
After lunch was the innovation session with nine entries. There was a varied mix of content and styles. Presentation, Video, Audience engagement. I liked the Good thinking Batman innovation by Rachel Cooke. I believe it is important to show people the work they do has value and is appreciated. I also had the opportunity to share some of the innovative practices I came across whilst on my study tour of medical libraries in the United States. The winning innovation was presented by Holly Case . She talked about the #ukmedlibs twitter chat which takes place at 8pm on the third Tuesday of every month. As someone who has participated in few of these discussions, I can say that an hour does go by quickly and the sessions are very interesting. It was a well deserved reward.

Imrana Ghumra, Professional Advisor, Library & Knowledge Services, Health Education East of England shared about the Knowledge for Healthcare advocacy toolkit for NHS LKS staff.  The toolkit is meant to be a reference tool for NHS LKS staff which will enable them have an awareness of the bigger picture. Case studies which can be anonymized on request will be added as a way of sharing best practice. It will constitute a range of resources comprised of how people have done things and what they have learnt. The toolkit will be launched in December and is currently in wiki format but is that fit for purpose? She raised the need to engage with stakeholders and have an elevator pitch at your fingertips which shows how you are impacting patient care. It is important to know how to advocate the LKS to people who don't live in a library bubble as well as develop a one page strategy which is easy to peruse.

Louise returned to talk about the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme which is to be delivered in partnership with CILIP in March 2016. Where the CILIP Leadership Programme had 20 places and participants needed to pay a £250 fee, this pilot will have 24 places, focus on healthcare, has been sponsored by Health Education England and is thus free to participants. Yes, you heard me. I did say FREE. So get in there because it is bound to be competitive. The programme is seeking aspiring LEADERS so be sure you know what you're signing up for to avoid disappointment. Getting the approval of Line Managers should not be a problem since the only cost to employers is giving the participants time to attend the seven MANDATORY meetings spread over the one year course. I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

This brought us to the end of the conference. All posters received a prize but the winning poster was for the Pop Up Library Service at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust presented by Lynsey Hawker.
Presentations for the conference can be found on LondonLinks.

In other news, I was notified last week that my revalidation has been accepted. Hurray!!! It wasn't as nerve-racking as I had originally thought (says the lady who checked her emails for news every two minutes after submitting). It really is about logging what you've been doing within the profession whether in your workplace or in the wider professional network. A nice variety is always a good way to go i.e. attending or presenting at workshops and conferences, visiting other libraries, contributions in your workplace, training given and received, professional reading, participation in groups on social media, mailing lists and such. I also found joining the Revalidation Group on the CILIP VLE very useful as I was able to view real examples of what others are adding to their portfolios.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Catching up

The study tour went really well and I am proud to say I have established relationships with librarian colleagues in the States. However the trip really wiped me out. I have spent the last couple of weeks drafting my report which I have now submitted. I have also submitted an article to Focus on Library and Information Work as well as another piece to 23 Librarians England. I am really looking forward to seeing them published. In the spirit of professional development, I have submitted my revalidation portfolio. No point postponing the inevitable.

Life at work has brought about some change. I am doing a lot more presentating at inductions, training, clinical support and the literature search requests seem to have a steady flow. I am thoroughly enjoying interacting with users in the clinical setting. The phrase "library lady" is now considered a term of endearment (by me anyway).

I've also been invited to speak at the next CILIP International Library and Information Group Informal Event themed around Travelling Librarians. It's a free early evening event so save the date, 13th January 2016.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Off I go on a study tour

So I've been lucky enough to be sponsored by The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and The English-Speaking Union (ESU) to conduct a study tour on the Knowledge for Healthcare framework for NHS Library and Knowledge Services in England published by Health Education England. I will be gathering intelligence from health libraries in the Greater Midwest Region of the USA on how service provision is cascaded from national to regional and local levels. I leave next week and my visits, flights and accommodation have been sorted. I will be blogging about my adventures so do follow me. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

In the meantime, I have been busy conducting training and literature searches. I have also been visiting wards to offer support in a clinical setting. I spent the last few days familiarizing myself with our new current awareness system KnowledgeShare. It will allow us to provide users with personalised bulletins on the latest evidence and will be a base for all literature searches. It is web-based which is a relief as it makes working from home easier and it is NHS OpenAthens password protected.

I'll be focusing on my study tour and revalidation so it may be a bit quiet for a while.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Local strategic plans

I have had the Knowledge for Healthcare framework on the brain since the first time I read it in March. I just can't seem to shake it off and I'm unsure if it is the root of my current headache, strategic plans within local NHS Libraries to meet the vision of the framework. It is with great relief that I attended the London Health Libraries Strategy Workshop facilitated by Sue Lacey Bryant and Richard Osborn who kindly shed some clarity to the information stored in my scrambled brain. One of the most useful things I gained was the need to align organizational aims and objectives as well as CQC recommendations with the strategic plans of the library based on the primary drivers of the framework.

Some more highlights included:
  • Rewording the themes of the framework  to reflect local principles.
  • Collaborating actively on national programmes that may be implemented locally.
  • Using the language of the organization's strategy (the purse strings) to talk futuristically.
  • Finding ways to contribute to the restructure and financial stability of the organization.
  • Finding ways to inform on decision-making in healthcare.
Am I sorted now? No. Am I where I was before the workshop? Definitely not. It was a very enlightning event which created the opportunity to discuss current issues with other NHS Librarians. It also contributed a lot to inform on my sponsored Study Tour which is starting to take shape.

Since my last post, I have been able to attend a Grand Round. It was great to see staff from different clinical departments discussing patient care. I was able to introduce myself to some people and assist with Athens registrations. I have been literature searching, training and representing the service at inductions. I went around the wards to introduce myself and promote the service. It turned out to be a useful exercise which I intend to continue. I am slowly plodding along with my revalidation which I hope to submit before the year runs out.


Friday, 22 May 2015

Forging ahead - Knowledge for Healthcare

It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm still exhausted from it all. Today was the final day of our Knowledge Awareness week which I must admit was a resounding success. I base my comments on the positive feedback the service has received especially when we had our stands on sites with no physical library. There were lots of promotional materials graciously supplied by our providers such as Clinical Key and Virtual Ashridge who also had presentations, resource demonstrations and drop-in sessions at our workshops. We also ran a photo competition and crossword competition which drew quite a lot of interest as it was open to staff and their family and friends. We have been able to refurbish our Whipps Cross Library and Royal London Hospital Knowledge Hub in the run up to Knowledge Awareness Week which I consider an amazing feat.

I applied for the Travelling Librarian award in March and was excited to get shortlisted. Although I did not obtain the award, I found it a very fulfilling experience. Kirsten McCormick won the award in 2013 and was a fountain of knowledge and support through the entire process for which I am extremely grateful. I still hope to secure the funds needed to conduct my study tour in August so fingers crossed. What is it about? How the aims of the Knowledge for Healthcare framework can be met by maximising value for money at the local and regional level. I will be visiting hospital and university health libraries of the National Network of Medical Libraries Greater Midwest Region. The objectives are directed at service development for my organisation and beyond. All this has drawn me into the tweeting scene and if nothing else, thats a positive result.

It's also been busy on the work front with literature searches, training and inductions. Feeling a bit run off my feet and looking forward to the long bank holiday weekend.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Continuing Professional Development

Image (c) Creative Commons - ed_needs_a_bicycle

I take CPD very seriously not just because I should but because I find it very valuable. I have been trained on the Trust website content management system so I am now able to make changes and update the Library web pages. I have also attended a Critical Appraisal course run by CLIST and although a lot of what was said was familiar, I gained some ideas that could improve my training methods. The session helped me realise that a one size fits all session will not work for Critical appraisal so I intend to design a basic, intermediate and advanced level session and use the level best suited to each users competency on the topic. I also liked a feature which involved asking what people thought about the paper before and after the appraisal to determine if the session changes views. Encouraging appraisers to communicate gaps in research to the authors of the paper was also raised as a way of improving future research.

I continue to train and conduct in-depth literature searches for clinicians. The pilot for the pop-up library is going well and I'll be able to summarise what I've learned after the last session next week.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Clinical Librarianship

Image (c) Creative Commons - Susan Smith
Embedding the librarian role in the clinical setting is now an area of impact assessment for NHS libraries. As my role evolves to extend our outreach services to clinical teams, I find myself slightly overwhelmed. I shadowed the Clinical Librarian at a clinical meeting before gathering the courage to attend one in the Endocrinology department. I found it very interesting as the case study resulted in discussions on a paper to be written and I was asked to assist in the literature searches. I was also on hand to answer questions on assessing Athens as well as any clinical information resources we might currently have access to. I have worked in health libraries for a little while but this experience made me realise that as librarians, it is easy to cut ourselves off from the reality of the services we render. It has brought home the realities of individual patients. No longer do I deal with a scenario but I am performing a task to help a specific person who I know by name even if I never meet them.

I shadowed a cardiology ward round today which I found very tasking. Needless to say that after 4 hours straight on my feet I had a new appreciation for what ward rounds involve. I found I had to remind myself why I was there as each patient's situation left me somewhat sad. The ward round did result in two literature search requests as well as a request for help registering for Athens. I feel I am now able to attend a ward round on my own and plan to do so at the earliest opportunity. I am following the University Hospitals of Leicester Clinical Librarian Service Blog to keep abreast of new developments and I have been invited to attend grand round on my hospital site.

My other duties have not suffered though. I have been updating presentation and training materials. I trained a few nurses over the past week and represented the KLS at an induction for student nurses. I have also been able to make some headway with the pop-up library. I will be piloting the service once a week between 12pm and 2pm every Wednesday in April. I have been able to book a location and will pick up a display banner next week. I am now looking at how to obtain feedback to improve impact.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

University Health & Medical Librarians Group Spring Forum 06/03/15 #UHMLGSF15

 Survival of the fittest: changing environments, evolving roles, and new skills for librarians in healthcare

The UHMLG 2015 Spring Forum was held at the Royal Society of Medicine and I was fortunate enough to attend as it was paid for by my department. There were about 100 delegates and sponsors including Dynamed, Oxford University Press, Mark Allen, BMJ, Wiley and more. I had the opportunity to re-establish connections with library colleagues and service providers I have not been in contact with since I went on maternity leave. It was a one day event which centered on how roles, services and staff skills need to change to meet changing needs and expectations in healthcare. It started off with a welcome address from Donald Mackay, Head of Health Care Libraries, Bodleian Libraries.

The first speaker introduced was Jason Briddon, Director of Library Services, University of West of England. His talk covered how librarians with the Higher Education sector are developing skills to meet changes in how services are rendered and what needs to be done to meet user expectations. He raised the lego four horsemen of the library apocalypse:
  • unsustainable costs as the need for the library existence is constantly challenged by finance
  • variable alternatives as sources of information
  • decreasing demand for physical stock as engagement with digital content increases and there is increased use of the library space and chat support
  • views of the library as not meeting user demands
He also referred to the NMC Horizon Report emphasizing the challenges of embedding the librarian within the curriculum working with academic staff. We need to rethink library roles and skills and see people trained in different fields as assets to the Library and use it to our advantage. He went on to discuss the OCLC Report: At a tipping point which explores students perspectives and future expectations of the library. We need to embrace the need for radical changes in anticipation of changes to the library in future and embed ourselves in the e-learning environment to ensure online learners see us as facilitators and engage more with us. There will be a need for evolving partnerships and collaborations, flexibility, agility, innovation and an increasing number of library staff from different professional backgrounds.

The next speaker was David Stewart, Director or Health Libraries North West. His talk focused a published document strategy for NHS Knowledge and Library Service for 2015-20, Knowledge for healthcare. This document was requested when Health Education England LKSL asked for £2m for recurrent national core content to cover a three year period. It's importance cannot be overemphasized as previous similar documents were never published and it also provides resources to support its implementation. There are four strategic themes focusing on transforming service.
  • Proactive customer-focused services
  • Quick and easy access to evidence
  • Effective leadership, planning and development of the healthcare library and knowledge services workforce
  • Optimising funding for best value
It invites information professionals to help take its themes forward and achieve its aims. We need to be asking ourselves three questions.
  • What is working well with the current LKS provision?
  • What part of the vision resonates with us?
  • What can we do together?
This is a working document and we need to consider what our key priorities should be for implementing the recommendations in the long term.

Ruth Murphy, Library Learning and Teaching Manager and Sonya Lipczynska, Library Liaison Manager, both from Kings College London were next and their talk covered how librarians perceive their roles as teachers. They referred to a 1979 Pauline Wilson article and her thoughts on the fact that librarianship and academia should be kept separate. Wilson stated "it is a fiction that librarians are teachers. The fiction is used by librarians to provide a more comforting self-image, to bolster a status claim, and to relate the profession to the world outside it". Needless to say, the statement caused an uproar but then it raised the question, Is there a difference between teachers and trainers? To answer this, the pair looked to the KCL mission statement and determined that the library is central to the student learning journey. Sonya highlighted that she progressed through peer support, experience, trial and lots of error. She obtained a Certificate in Academic Practice which helped her reflect on what she was doing and how she could make small but positive changes. Ruth employed practice from experience and peer support. She also obtained certificates in learning and development activities and more. How practice was impacted was discussed as they moved from surface to deep learning. It had longer term benefits to the students as they were engaged by giving scenarios and asking them to teach each other what they learn. Their online environment is Keats but they also use Libguides to bring content together for groups and use Pollseverywhere to confirm understanding of what is learnt. They expanded their portfolio to include academic writing and maths & statistics support but find that there is a need to standardise language used, clarify academic departmental expectations (just ask them what they want), set clear learning objectives and knowledge outcomes, and distinguish between awareness, instructional training and knowledge development sessions.

We were joined next by Janette Colcough, Research Support Manager, University of York and Pat Spoor, Scholarly Communications and Research Skills (SCoRes) Team Leader, University of Leeds. They discussed how their university libraries have been restructured to take on new roles and responsibilities highlighting that neither of their roles have the term library or librarian in it. The new teams were created from the old and reorganised by function which created a need for change management and staff reallocation. It also meant that not everyone had the job they wanted but at least everyone had a job. Teams focused on collection development, research support and teaching and learning. The restructuring provided a more dedicated support to service provision and increased support to meet research needs. The session highlights the need to change how we perceive our roles in libraries. There should be librarians for new roles and not new roles for librarians.

Next up was Erica Rae, Public Health & Commissioning Librarian, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust. She discusses the WSKL merged library service and how rather complicated NHS changes turned her into a hotdesking outreach librarian with just a laptop and a mobile phone. The print collection was moved back to parent libraries and all journals provided were now in electronic format. All correspondence is also via email. Her role made her less visible and started on a six month trial basis. This meant if she could not get funded, she'd end up jobless. Three years on found her fully embedded with a full contract taken on by the City Council. The physical challenges she faced include loss of contact with colleagues, loss of a physical library collection, travel issues and associated admin expenses, technological challenges such as network issues. Practical challenges included the need for new skills, requirement for new sources and resources and funding issues.

The next speaker was Rosalind Francis, Health and Social Care Librarian, University of Greenwich and she talked about participating in the going for GOLD programme (Greenwich Opportunities in Learning Development).  She wanted to obtain acknowledgement for her efforts so pursued becoming an Associated Fellow of the Higher Education Academy using the UK Professional Standards Framework. The AF is the most common level for librarians as it applies to those who support student learning. She found the criteria similar to Chartership but more straightforward and confided that she gained a greater sense of achievement through this process than through Chartership. It enabled her tailor sessions in response to enquiries thereby gaining an idea of information needs of different users, gain professional recognition for learned skills, reflect on teaching and boost departmental and institutional reputation. The process does not require much evidence as the referees supplied by the candidate are there to observe and support the claims of what has been achieved.

At this juncture, we broke for a well deserved and enjoyable lunch. It gave me the opportunity to network and visit exhibition stands. The next speaker was Fiona Ware, Academic Liaison Librarian, University of Hull,  who discussed her role supporting systematic reviews. She highlights the issue of being asked for help with systematic reviews which turn out not to be systematic reviews and the need to re-educate academics on what constitutes a systematic review. She helped PhDs with a systematic review which got her an authorship mention but took an entire year to complete and requires an update within one year. All this does not come without its challenges and they include time, the need to refresh skills, the amount of repeated work required and the weight of responsibility. There is an organisational review taking place which does not include an Academic Liaison Librarian role so she is providing a service that may cease to exist leaving her without a job.

Laura Wilkes, Library and Knowledge Services Manager, West Suffolk Hospital, then joined us for a very interesting talk about her role as an Innovation Scout. It is a voluntary role which helps identify new innovations within the NHS to the Health Enterprise East for development. She raises awareness of innovation in her organisation, promotes the adoption and diffusion of new ideas and targets the corporates to raise the profile of the library and ultimately obtain funding. This has enabled her achieve a revised Intellectual Property policy to include the innovation scout, get an Intellectual Property lead, set up meetings quarterly with the DCEO, promote the role with an innovation webpage on the library website, register a trademark for a tray developed called Rosevital which delivers wipes and earplugs and helped reduce noise complaints at night from 85% to 15%. She was Runner up in the Sally Hernando Awards and an Innovation award has now been added to the annual Shining Lights Awards sponsored by the HEE. One of the great challenges for her is time as she does this on top of her day job. The ideas provided need to be seen from the perspective of the Executives and hard questions need to be asked such as what impact will it have and how much will developing the idea cost? The good thing is that all ideas are filtered by the library first, literature searches are then carried out to support the ides and test its viability.

Next was the Panel discussion with roving mics chaired by Betsy Anagnostelis. Sue Lacey Bryant, Senior Development Advisor, Health Education England, came on to talk about career portfolio and how she has navigated a range of roles within the NHS over the years. She advised new professionals to invest in management skills and play to their strengths. Do what you're good at, steer your own development, learn from experience and from others, learn to adapt and test your personal resilience. I was struck by her candor and it made me realise that most times we do not think we have the knowledge and experience for a role but with the network of support in the profession and by learning on the job, we can achieve a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.

Donald Mackay thanked sponsors and speakers and I got a tour of the Royal Society of Medicine Library. This was my first time at a UHMLG Forum and it was a day well spent with a lot of information obtained and good relationships fostered. That's the currency you need in this profession so I'm feeling very wealthy.

Monday, 9 March 2015


I represented the Knowledge and Library Service at the Doctors induction hoping to hand out some leaflets and application forms. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest that was shown and spent the better portion of an hour answering questions about the services we provide and how the Doctors can better utilize us. I also submitted a piece about myself and my role to 23librariansengland and hope to see it featured in the near future.

I got the go ahead to start a trial on our pop-up library. The idea is to start one day a week at lunchtime and see what the feedback is like so that we can get the opportunity to straighten out any issues before moving on to the sites where they are desperately needed. The trial will begin in April and I am putting plans in place, first and foremost getting a space for the stand. The changes to NHS Evidence has also meant changes to all my training materials. I see it as a refresher course which will help me familiarize myself with the changes that have been made since I've been gone and those coming soon.

On the advice of a colleague and obtaining futher information from his blog and in the March 2015 issue of CILIP Update, I decided to embark on my 2015 Revalidation. I find it strangely painless compared to Chartership and I have already logged 6.5 hours of the required 20 hours thanks to attending the University Health and Medical Librarian Group 2015 Spring Forum and a tour of the Royal Society of Medicine Library. Getting recognition for professional development activities we do anyway and entry on the CILIP Public Register of Practitioners has got to be worth logging it and writing a 250 word statement. Best of all, it's free so why not?
(c) Image Creative Commons - Paul Worthington

Friday, 27 February 2015

Pop-Up Library

One of my targets this year is to set up a pop-up library that travels from site to site. We serve several sites but only have two physical libraries. I believe it is important for staff based where there is no Library to feel there is still a Library presence there. To this end, I reached out to other health librarians to find out if they have done anything similar and how they accomplished their goal. This brought up a lot of ideas as well as interest from others who would like to do the same. I complied a summary of responses for the mailing list (LIS-Medical) and also got a contact from someone who is interested in collaborating as we proceed.

The most important advice to me was to liaise with the telecommunications department of the Trust for publicity. Sending out constant reminders about when the pop-up library will be available and putting up posters.
  • Choose prime spots for visibility - there was a recurring theme of receptions and canteens. 
  • Put up a banner so that people know immediately who you are and what is going on as they go past. We already have our banner sorted.
  • Send out email alerts on the day to drum up business.
  • Bring as much of the service with you as possible -Library management system, registrations forms, guides, leaflets etc.
  • Supply promotional items if available e.g. pens.
  • Be prepared to give quick training sessions on the spot.
  • Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to take off.
I think one the advantages of the pop-up library will be gaining customer satisfaction from users knowing the service is physically available to them. It is a profile raiser and will hopefully serve to help busy readers who can't make it to the Library. Throw a couple of literature searches and IT glitches into the mix and you have the general idea of what my week has been like.
(c) Image Creative Commons - Aaron Landry

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Return to work

After 10 months away on maternity, I return to find myself almost completely cut off from anything library related. Thankfully I had kept my professional memberships and subscriptions and the steady receipt of bulletins kept me up to date with what was going on in the wider professional network. Needless to say, it has been a shock to the system although it is nice to finally have some routine back in my daily life. My first week was full of all the trials of lost passwords, blocked keycards and other access issues which was topped off by the news that there will be changes to the interface for NHS Evidence as well as changes to HDAS.

There is a lot for me to catch up on and I am making participation in the wider professional network my focus for 2015. I have joined the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) and I will be attending the University Health & Medical Librarians Group Spring Forum on the 6th of March kindly funded by my department. The forum focuses on the evolving roles and skills for librarians in healthcare which is the exact situation I find myself in. I am convinced that the programme of events which deals a lot with the NHS framework will serve well in bringing me up to speed on all I have missed as well as help me generate ideas on how best to adapt to my role as it evolves. I look forward to giving a report on how the event goes and all I learn there.
(c) Image Creative Commons - laura redburn