Current Issue

Previous Issues

Health Information Access in Community College Libraries: Help Us Help You!

CyberCastMissy Harvey

Missy Harvey, Technology and Communication Coordinator

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) has identified the need to enhance outreach to community college librarians because of the important role they play in the training and development of the allied health professions.  In Spring 2012 an NN/LM nationwide task force conducted interviews to learn more about this target population.  They developed strategies to target outreach to community college librarians beginning mid-2013.

Interview Lessons
The Task Force sought to improve their understanding of health information use and the needs of community college librarians, students, and faculty.  Interview results showed a number of examples of departments involving librarians and integrating library instruction into their curricula.  Most examples referred to collaborations with nursing departments.  Many librarians, but not all, used PubMed and MedlinePlus, as well as CINAHL.  Other lessons learned included:

  • Many librarians have no health science background and are not comfortable with health sciences resources
  • Some librarians try to incorporate health sciences databases, but many don’t see the need to promote NLM databases
  • Librarians’ work with faculty is primarily for teaching support rather than research support
  • Involvement by librarians in the curriculum seems to vary and often depends on the individual faculty
  • Faculty often don’t know what expertise librarians can bring to evidence-based practice

Task Force members compiled the following characteristics about community colleges:

  • Community colleges respond to changing workforce needs and are an untapped source of health care providers
  • Community college librarians tend to be generalists
  • Very few community colleges are NN/LM members
  • Some community college librarians are active in health science library associations and NN/LM, but usually as individuals

MAR Outreach Plans
The goal of this initiative is improved health information access in community colleges for librarians, students, faculty and staff for their academic programs. There are a variety of ways we’re hoping to reach community college librarians.  Our goals in MAR include:

  1. Posting to social media and listservs of interest to community college librarians
  2. Exhibiting, presenting, and training at state library association meetings
  3. Hosting online training webinars focused on the community college audience
  4. Conducting site visits to community college libraries

We are developing a new webinar to target community college librarians:

Navigating Health Information for Community Colleges

This free webinar will be offered online and is designed for community college librarians working with students in allied health fields.  Attendees will learn more about how their students can research health literature using PubMed, find quality information for patients and consumers, and use mobile apps.

We will be announcing the course in the near future.  To learn about this course and other free courses, make sure to subscribe to our MAR-L listserv:  https://list.pitt.edu/mailman/listinfo/mar-l.

MAR Needs Your Help

  • Email our academic liaison if you have ideas or suggestion how we can reach community college librarians:  Missy Harvey, mjharvey@pitt.edu
  • If you know of any social media tools in your area frequented by community college librarians, pass the details along to Missy
  • In the next few months, MAR will be exhibiting at NJLA, SUNYLA, PaLA, and NYLA—encourage any community college librarians you know to stop by our exhibit booth
  • If you know any community college librarians, tell them about MAR classes—we’ll touch base with them as they register and encourage them to consider the free membership in our NN/LM network
  • If you would like Missy to visit your community college, send her an email—she’d love to meet with you when she’s in your neighborhood
Print Friendly