Meeting date: March 28, 2018
Presenter: Gina Brander
Citation: Ganshorn, H., & Giustini, D. (2017). New directions in health sciences libraries in Canada: Research and evidence based practice are key. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 34(3), 252–257. https://doi.org/10.1111/hir.12190
Article abstract: This article is the second in a new series in this regular feature. The intention of the series is to look at important global developments in health science libraries. These articles will serve as a road map, describing the key changes in the field and exploring factors driving these changes. The present article by two Canadian librarians identifies important national developments which are shaping the profession such as the centralisation of health care services, the challenge of providing consumer health information in the absence of a national strategy, government recognition of the need to recognise and respond to the health needs of indigenous peoples and the growing emphasis on managing research data. Although their profession is strong, health science librarians must find ways of providing enhanced services with fewer staff and demonstrate value to organisations.
Reason for selection: As a librarian currently working in post-secondary education, I found this bird’s-eye view of trends in health sciences libraries and librarianship informative and thought-provoking. In fact, as soon as I finished reading the article, I had several questions I wanted to fire at colleagues working in hospitals and health research contexts! I therefore selected this article because I am interested in learning about the on-the-ground experiences of health librarians in Saskatchewan, and whether the same factors driving these changes elsewhere in Canadian health libraries are at work in our province. As well, I hope to learn more about some of the challenges resulting from budget cuts and organizational restructuring.
Critical appraisal questions & summary:
- Have any of the five trends identified by Ganshorn and Giustini resulted in added or changed roles in your library? Which trend has most significantly impacted your daily practice?
- There is definitely more of a role for librarians to introduce and facilitate the use of different technologies. Our users want more online and open access books and journals as well as mobile apps which are in high demand compared to a few years ago. Academic settings are seeing a large increase in 3D printing and even wanting to borrow iPads and laptops, interestingly not all students appear to have their own.
- Centralisation of health services is obviously very relevant to the day-to-day experience for the new Saskatchewan Health Authority. Different libraries (and ways of providing services) have had to come together and provide a new single service that is being pushed out to the whole province. This has a major impact on collection development.
- One trend observed by the authors is the centralisation of provincial health care services. In the face of the recent dissolution of the twelve health regions in favour of one provincial health authority in Saskatchewan, do you agree that the overall result of centralisation has been, or will be, improved access to collections and library services?
- SHIRP licensed products have helped with the new centralisation of health services. Regina had a larger budget than Saskatoon and Prince Albert so it has improved access to resources for everyone. The former health region libraries were already working together in some ways even before the amalgamation happened and relationships were already developed which has helped facilitate this transition.
- The Saskatchewan Health Authority Library is ready to go but still waiting for other things to happen in the Health Authority so that we have a clearer direction (ex. strategic plan, marketing, etc).
- Webinars and training sessions via WebEx being offered to staff from some of the former health regions that ha dno library. However this comes with its challenges such as only having 1 WebEx account.
- Another trend observed was a movement towards supporting diverse populations/health consumers, with an emphasis on providing culturally competent and inclusive consumer health information to Indigenous communities. Can you speak about any steps your library has taken to respond to the TRC’s seven health-specific Calls to Action, such as the selection and inclusion of Indigenous-focused content and resources?
- The importance of incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and learning has been emphasized in academic settings. Looking at different approaches and awareness of history and issues related to Indigenous Peoples, making sure resources are not just selected, but also featured and promoted to staff to help develop cultural competency.
- There has been some connecting with Elders, weekly staff huddles where one of the calls to action is read out loud and everyone talks about what is being done. It should be noted however that there tends to not be enough follow-up. But the huddles are great for making staff aware and keeping them informed of what is being done.
- The 1st year nursing students have to do an indigenous project so connecting them with information (Canadian, Saskatchewan, UofS iPortal) and addressing their needs. UofR works closely in partnership with the First Nations University and partners with things like books.
- Also indigenizing the library spaces and making sure they are inclusive. UofR has beautiful indigenous art in the building. UofS campus has also done a great job.
- There is a difference in clinical settings perhaps because clinical librarians depend on the needs of their users and these types of questions aren’t being asked as much.
- The Regina General Hospital has an Indigenous Healing Centre at its front entrance. Perhaps an opportunity here for the library to do something?
- Have you witnessed an increased demand for support around systematic reviews and other forms of evidence synthesis? If so, how has your library met the increase in demand? Have new service models been explored or piloted at your library? Have any library roles shifted towards increased embeddedness to support the needs of research teams?
- Increase in requests for systematic reviews in Kinesiology and Nursing in academic settings. Very time consuming, mostly consists of doing the literature review and extracting the data.
- Telling them the librarian must be included as an author
- The people requesting these reviews usually haven’t done enough preparation before approaching the library and they get turned away.
- Sometimes when asked to re-run a search, the strategies are not good and include very few search terms so it becomes more time consuming.
- How do health sciences libraries continue to meet the challenging demands for increased services in the face of budgetary cuts? Are we simply facing the same issues as those who came before us, or do you see the need for a serious overhaul in terms of how we provide information resources and services to users?
- “We’re always doing more with less.”
- One strategy mentioned in the article is to utilize and teach the technology. Use video conference software to reach as many people as possible (also using something like RedCap).
- Enable our users to do as much of the work on their own as possible.
- York University has a tool to help with modules, research, and writing that the UofR has been looking at.
- Are there any developments shaping our profession that Ganshorn and Guistini did not mention, which you feel warrant attention?
- These authors did a great job selecting the major issues in Canada, but they only touched briefly on the struggle of demonstrating our value.
- There isn’t much benchmarking on staff ratio for our libraries.
- There was no mention of the dissolution of the CLA and creation of CFLA.