Javier Leiva

Growing by Learning and Learning by Doing

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].

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