Hospital Librarians Summit in Chicago–April 21

Now that the dust has settled from the flurry of spring activities for the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan team, here is a brief summary of the Hospital Librarians Summit that was held in Chicago on April 21 with excellent results.  Fourteen hospital librarians from across the country, half sponsored by the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan and half by the eight Regions of NN/LM,  attended the day-long meeting at the Library of the Health Sciences at the University of Illinois/Chicago.  The meeting was hosted by the Greater Midwest Region of the NN/LM, with arrangements provided by Ruth Holst, Associate Director.  Each of the eight NN/LM Regions was represented, most by two hospital librarians and an emergency preparedness liaison from the NN/LM staff in each region.  Participants received an overview of NN/LM’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, and the resources that exist for assisting librarians to develop and implement emergency preparedness plans, then heard presentations about the activities of NLM’s Disaster Information Research Center (DIMRC).  In the afternoon, David Esterquest, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Ruth University Medical Center, spoke to the group about hospital emergency preparedness, how roles are established and how communication functions, as well as how hospital librarians can assist and develop roles with their hospitals for emergency preparedness.

As a result of break-out sessions that were part of the meeting, here are highlights of discussions about the roles hospital librarians can play in emergency preparedness and response:

         offer library space (e.g. community crisis center, communications center, day care)

         work in evacuation shelters, bringing books and needed reference materials

         aid other institutions in disaster area to help salvage damaged collections

         collection managers of disaster-related resources

         information facilitators to public and health care professionals/communicate with public library

         internal planners with hospital administration (let managers know what librarians can do in a disaster)

         government partners (e.g. internet access to fill out FEMA forms)

         bibliographic searches to public and health care professionals

         host sessions on emergency preparedness—invite speakers and bring in experts

         assist with grant writing

Message from the Midwest: GMR promotes The Plan!

We’ve heard from Ruth Holst and Jacqueline Leskovec at the Greater Midwest Region (GMR) NN/LM office about their activities in promoting NN/LM’s EP&R Plan recently, and they have been busy and creative! The GMR has an active Emergency Preparedness Working Group, composed of librarians, both academic and hospital, from each state in their region. For the EP Working Group, they have developed a role statement for the Regional Coordinators which spells out responsibilities and procedures for them to use in the event of a disaster in their states. The EP Working Group is also creating a checklist of questions that NN/LM RML staff can use when a call comes in from a member reporting an emergency or disaster, in order to ensure consistency of information obtained. GMR is also investigating online class options for use in enhancing training for their Regional Coordinators.

To promote the plan, the GMR sponsored an excellent poster featuring the various components of the plan. It was presented at the recent Midwest Chapter/MLA meeting in Troy, Michigan by Maryann Mlodzik, Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Barbara Platts, Munson Healthcare, Traverse City, MI, both of whom are their states’ representatives on the GMR EP Working Group (see a photo of Maryann, Barb and the poster in the Picture Gallery). Ruth’s office made several copies of the poster so that the GMR can loan them out to librarians who want to exhibit them at state and local meetings.

GMR Staff member Holly Burt and Working Group member Pat Hamilton spearheaded the group’s efforts to create two tri-fold handouts; one featuring preparedness activities and one for response procedures as outlined in the NN/LM plan. The handouts do a great job of succinctly presenting the NN/LM plan, and will no doubt be very helpful to the members in their region.

Linda Walton, Director, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences at University of Iowa, and also a member of the GMR’s EP Working Group, presented the NN/LM plan to the health science librarians’ subgroup at the Iowa Library Association’s annual meeting in Dubuque (October 15-17, 2008).

It’s exciting to see the promotion of NN/LM’s Emergency Preparedness & Response plan unfold across the country–many thanks to Ruth and Jacqueline for the updates!