Javier Leiva – Blog


When the Blog Was My Learning Tool

I discovered The Bottom Line in Clinical Outreach: Stepping out of the Library (Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 20;2, 133-145). From its About page:

It documents clinical questions from Internal Medicine’s resident reports and faculty-led case conferences […]

The mission of The Bottom Line is to support the educational activities of the residents by directing them to evidence and background information in response to questions raised during the reports and case conferences.

I believe it is a good library product: it provides answers to clinical questions, but it also keeps a record of them that can be shared and recovered later (by the same people, or by others looking for the same topics).

But that is not the only reason I liked bumping into The Bottom Line. The other one is that it reminds me of how blogs helped me 14 and more years ago when I attended presentations. I took notes while listening to the presenters, later enriched those notes with my thoughts and additional resources, and tried to make sense to all of it by creating new content. That was undoubtedly an excellent learning method.

But then, Twitter came, and most of us allowed it to drag us to the world of the ephemeral. I like how TMO puts it on Offline Journal Thoughts (or, “On (My) Writing”):

[…] I discovered Twitter. And that’s where a lot of my thoughts, and ideas, and emotions, and everything else ended up for over a decade. Mid-2009 to September 2019. Wasted, as far as I am concerned.

Twitter is useful in many ways, and waste may be excessive, but I feel pretty identified with what that quote conveys. It makes me miss that time, for sure, and I wish I could recover to some extent that activity that was so great to reflect and learn. I don’t know; this text might be a shy attempt at it.

Increasing Awareness about the Medical Library and Building its Reputation

I am re-reading Elizabeth Burns’ book Being a solo librarian in healthcare: pivoting for 21st Century healthcare information delivery. She talks about how librarians need to be proactive to make better contributions and be more useful, and I connect this idea with the thought that proactivity is also one of the best ways to be noticed. Because not everybody at a health system or a hospital knows there is a library available (when there is) and what can it do for them. They are not to blame: it’s the librarian’s job to be noticed and make ourselves useful (or even better: essential).

When I think about it, the expressions increasing awareness and building reputation come to my mind. Let me use another four words to explain my thoughts (alphabetical order):

  • Networking
  • Proactivity
  • Reliability
  • Velocity

Medical librarians need to anticipate to caregivers’ needs as a way to help, but also to show them skills they may not expect, but from which they can benefit a lot [proactivity]. We need to do that with regular patrons, but we should also be continually looking for new opportunities to make ourselves known and be perceived as an asset. That means stepping out of the library and taking an active part in events, committees, and other situations [networking + proactivity].

If all that is done, requests will come: literature searches, training, article requests, or others. We will have been noticed. Now, it will be time to build trust by answering these requests in a fast and satisfactory way. Maybe we won’t have all the answers, but we should provide the best possible solution to every need, and promptly [reliability + velocity].