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Site Visit Report:

Innovation, Creativity, Enthusiasm

The MCR staff received the report for the site visit conducted in July. We loved the first sentence, “The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) MidContinental Region (MCR) is characterized by innovation, creativity and enthusiasm.” All our anxiety drained out; and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Strengths of the Region

In addition to the compliments for the staff, the team highlighted accomplishments. These included an increase in membership among public libraries, an increase in readers of the Bringing Health Information to the Community blog and a new publication system incorporating postings contributed from four other RMLs. They acknowledged our strengths: the commitment of the Resource Library Directors to the distributed model and that MCR is one of the few regions that has an advocacy coordinator.

Site Visit Team Recommendations

Each member of the team synthesized all they learned about the NN/LM MCR and submitted a report back to NLM. These reports included a compilation of recommendations. The recommendations for the MCR concern our advocacy programming, the role of members in developing programming, and internal actions. Some of the recommendations confirm areas where we intended to focus our efforts.

Advocacy Programming

  1. There should be better alignment of advocacy work being done with state hospital associations. There seems to be a conflict between what the state is doing and what the MCR is doing.
  2. More emphasis should be placed on developing tools and services for hospital libraries that allow them to leverage existing resources in order to demonstrate their direct impact on patient outcomes.
  3. The MCR should keep Network members abreast of library advocacy activities.
  4. Additional resources are needed to support hospital libraries and assist in redefining the role of hospital libraries.

In addition to these recommendations for the NN/LM MCR, the team also wrote recommendations for NLM.

  • Engage hospital administrators in dialogue regarding hospital librarians as a joint venture with the Medical Library Association. Or independently promote the value of hospital libraries and their role in the delivery of healthcare at the national level, not in conjunction with MLA.
  • Develop clear and concise metrics related to hospital libraries that demonstrate value added services that impact patient outcomes.

Member Role

  1. The MCR should reach out to inactive and/or new members to build relationships and get more people involved in regional programs and activities.

Consortia Licensing

  1. Facilitate more consortia buying.

Internal Actions

  1. The MCR should identify the relationship between the Healthy People goals and RML activities.
  2. The distributed model works for the MCR. It would be good to demonstrate formally the success of this regional model in some way.

Getting Ready

Just to recap, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) conducts a site visit for each Regional Medical Library and each NN/LM Center once during a five-year contract. An outsider’s view can help NN/LM and NLM staff gain a fresh perspective on our programs, how we’re carrying them out, the outcomes we want from them. NLM recruits a health professional, a hospital librarian, an academic health sciences librarian, plus a team leader for the site visit team.

To gain insights into the NN/LM MCR program the site visit team did extensive reading that included the MCR’s 5-year contract proposal,  and quarterly and annual reports submitted to NLM. They also bounced in and out of our postings in — the RML News blog, Plains to Peaks Post, Facebook and Twitter.

Team members attended a discussion session where selected librarians from the region answered a series of questions on what MCR programming was of value and identified needs that could use more attention from the NN/LM and NLM. Additional Network members answered the same questions in a SurveyMonkey form. By the time site team members gather for the staff presentation summarizing our first 2 years of the contract, they have a pretty good idea on what’s been happening in the region.

They were taken on a virtual tour of the RML and the MCR’s Resource Libraries, interacted with us as we covered 2 years of accomplishments (a summary of the presentation was the focus of the August Breezing Along of the RML) and had a “worthwhile discussion” with Resource Library Directors.

The report is available from the NN/LM MCR web site at http://ow.ly/pSCXb .

-Claire Hamasu, Associate Director

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