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Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

JM2010 Round Table: New and Emerging Roles for Medical Librarians

Posted on February 2, 2010 by kcarlson | No Comments

By April R. Frost, Independent Medical Librarian & Trainer

Round Table: New and Emerging Roles for Medical Librarians.

The first topic we discussed was transferability of medical librarians’ skills into other fields. Many library skills transfer nicely into other areas, such as journalism and reporting. The transfer of skills can be shared through cross-training with other departments. Cross-training can be enriching, but it is vital to use the organization’s mission as a guideline for each person’s role is within the department.

Hospital Librarian Education was another major topic. What is the best way for hospital librarians to educate themselves on medical library-related topics, such as medicine/medical terms, Evidence-Based Practice, and especially article analysis? We discussed distance learning, auditing college courses, and MLA CE’s as options. A primary area of discussion focused on article selection and analysis – both for librarians and library patrons.

We also discussed proprietary/unusual resources. One hospital is currently operating a library of resources provided by a non-medical librarian. Where do we draw the line, regarding the control/management of those items that are donated and already cataloged according to the non-library system?

Health Literacy is another hot topic we discussed. The language used by providers and for patients/consumers needs to be concise and easy to understand; and the reading level should be at about middle school level. Improved comprehension means fewer medical errors. Also, health literacy needs to be culturally aware. We also discussed the possibility of using a different term than “literacy;” sometimes people see that word, and assume they are literate, so they do not explore the meaning of “health literacy.”

Everyone contributed and offered insights from each person’s perspective. It would be nice to have a follow-up time to explore solutions or update on these issues.

Posted 2/2/10

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