Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About OERC | Contact Us | Feedback |OERC Sitemap | Help | Bookmark and Share

Public Libraries Outreach Evaluation Task Force

RML Public Libraries Outreach Evaluation Task Force Report --- June 2003

The current five year contract for the NN/LM expands outreach efforts by Regional Libraries to public libraries and other groups. In September, 2002, a task force was convened to investigate future needs and planning for RML interaction with public libraries in each region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Plans for achieving the desired outcomes for outreach to public libraries (task force charge #1) are detailed in the program logic model developed by the task force. For each of the three outreach objectives that received the most votes at the May 2002 RML Directors meeting (notes from the meeting), the logic model delineates the resources, activities, project management milestones, outputs, and the desired short- and long-term outcomes. These recommended actions apply specifically to Year 3. Follow on actions for Years 4 and 5 will need to be developed later.

Charges of the Task Force

Listed below is a brief outline of charges assigned to the public libraries outreach evaluation task force team.

I. Recommend plans for achieving the desired outcomes for outreach to public libraries identified at the May 17, 2002 RML Directors Meeting which include increases in: 1) training sessions offered to public librarians; 2) promotion of MEDLINEplus; 3) partnerships by/with public libraries; and 4) network membership by Public Libraries.

  1. Refine the outcomes that will be measured.
  2. Determine how the outcomes will be measured or counted.
  3. Determine how the data will be collected and analyzed.
  4. Determine a timeline for data collection, including defining baseline and/or continuous and/or follow-up measures.
  5. Determine how the data will be synthesized, reported and used.

II. Recommend ways to increase effectiveness in reaching the outcomes being measured. That is, how can the regions overcome barriers and make the most effective progress toward the outcomes of interest? Knowledge or suggestions about best practices might be drawn from our collective RML experience, the audience or institutions we are trying to reach, our contacts/partners, and the published literature.

  1. Determine what barriers or problems that currently exist in reaching the outcomes being evaluated.
  2. Determine what answers are needed to address these issues.
  3. Determine ways to reasonably and efficiently identify and collect suggested strategies and "best practices".
  4. Determine and implement ways to disseminate findings to the RMLs in a timely way that will facilitate their use in the areas of outreach being assessed.

This task force was asked to determine its own schedule and communication and meeting format, and included an assigned task force leader and resource staff from the NN/LM National Network Office and the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center.

NN/LM Public Libraries Outreach Evaluation Task Force Members

Debbie Sibley, Chair
Associate Director
NN/LM New England Regional Medical Library
University of Massachusetts
Worcester, MA
Voice: (508) 856-2435
Fax: (508) 856-5977

Susan Barnes
Resource Sharing Coordinator
NN/LM Pacific Northwest Region
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Voice: (2906) 221-7425
Fax: (206) 543-2469

Kay Due
Manager Public Services
Central Memphis/Shelby Public Library and Information Center
Memphis, TN
Voice: (901) 415-2855

Claudia Gollop, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Voice: (919) 962-8362

Teri Hartman
Educational Liaison
NN/LM Midcontinental Region
University of Utah
Office Location: University of Nebraska
Omaha, NE
Voice: (402) 559-7076

Karen Motylewski
Research Officer
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Washington, DC
Voice: (202) 606-5551
Fax: (202) 606-1077

Gretchen Schweiger
Consumer Health Coordinator
NN/LM South Central Region
Houston Academy of Medicine
Houston, TX
Voice: (713) 799-7189
Fax: (713) 790-7030

Greta K. Southard
PLA Executive Director
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago IL 60611
Voice: 800-545-2433 x5028
Fax: 312-280-5029

Resource Staff:

Cathy Burroughs
Assistant Director
Outreach Evaluation Resource Center
NN/LM Pacific Northwest Regional Medical Library
Seattle, WA
Voice: (206) 543-9261
Fax: (206) 543-2469

Lalitha Kutty, MLS
Consumer Health Librarian
NN/LM National Network Office
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, MD
Voice: (301) 596-4777
Fax: (301) 480-1467

Angela Ruffin, Ph.D.
NN/LM National Network Office
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, MD
Voice: (301) 496-4777
Fax: (301) 480-1467

During the first meeting of the full task force, held on Oct. 17, 2002, it was decided that a "divide and conquer" format would be employed, with half of the committee working on Charge #1 and half working on Charge #2. Regular meetings of the full committee were also held. All meetings were arranged through the National Network Office and used conference calling as the mechanism. Numerous e-mail communications enabled the group to share information and thoughts between conference calls. The group worked very well under this format.

Group 1's membership included: S. Barnes, K. Motykewski, G. Schweiger and G. Southard
Group 2's membership included: K. Due, C. Gollop and T. Hartman
The following committee members participated in both groups: D. Sibley, A. Ruffin, L. Kutty and C. Burroughs.

Meetings held:
Oct. 9, 2002 - Planning meeting, A. Ruffin, C. Burroughs, D. Sibley
Oct. 17, 2002 - Full Task Force meeting
Oct. 21, 2002 - Group 2 Task Force meeting
Oct. 24, 2002 - Planning meeting, A. Ruffin, L. Kutty, T. Hartman
Oct. 30, 2002 - Group 1 Task Force meeting
Oct. 31, 2002 - Group 2 Task Force meeting
Nov. 8, 2002 - Full Task Force meeting
Nov. 20, 2002 - Group 2 Task Force meeting
Nov. 21, 2002 - Group 1 Task Force meeting
Nov. 26, 2002 - Group 2 Task Force meeting
Dec. 3, 2002 - Full Task Force meeting

Discussions during the three months that the task force met were far-ranging and enlightening for all who participated. A few of the documents that were shared and pondered include an article about an earlier NLM pilot project which provided outreach to public libraries in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (Vol. 88, No. 4, October 2000: Public library consumer health information pilot project: results of a National Library of Medicine evaluation.

Background reading: Public Library Consumer Health Pilot Project Evaluation Report (PDF) by Mary Beth Schnell and Paula Kitendaugh (NLM Fellows), August 1999.

A discussion of the second charge to the Task Force: NLM Task Force on Public Library Outreach Evaluation. (MS Word)

Memo about candidate outcomes and ways to measure them. (MS Word)