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Breakout Session 1. - Question and Ideas Generated

The bottom line is that you are either

Generating revenue or supporting those who do
Controlling operating expenses or helping those who do

After hearing from the morning's speakers, what can hospital librarians do in the following areas to become a mission-critical part of the organization?

  • Planning and program development
  • Marketing
  • Generating revenue
  • Legal/Risk Management
  • Clinical Staff Support
  • Human Resource Support

Planning and program development:

  • Identify organizational goals and write down for yourself and any staff that you may have how the library (and its staff) supports those goals. - "How do I support what you need to do?"
  • Look at business plans and models on the SLA Web site
  • If you are no longer in the administrative loop identify someone who is and will keep you informed.


  • You must deal with the perception that library service is "free"; since you don't bring in revenue you don't have value
  • You must deal with the idea that everything is on the Internet and it is free and staff can find what they need by themselves so why does the hospital need a librarian.
  • Put content on external site; if possible get some control over the external site or at least have input about its content and organization
  • Make available materials and resources on new health/disease concerns - hot topics idea!
  • Exhibit at health fairs, county fairs, do community consumer education about health information for groups like PTA, support groups, etc. (feature MedlinePlus and other NLM health information resources and get funding from the RML)
  • Special niche marketing for specific groups - use brochures, bookmarks,
  • Link back to Administration - via branding
    • Stamp or watermark paper
  • Organize a lunch and learn committee to get advocacy and support
  • Do a survey/trivia contest about library services, at the hospital's health fair or quality fair or for National Library Week or in October for National Medical Librarians Month
  • Offer the library as a health screening venue.

Generating income and controlling expenses:

  • Find out how the library can replace consultants.
  • Charge for outside requests, especially for lawyers, drug reps, and other companies.
  • Identify outsiders who may be willing to pay for health information
  • Charge for ILLs within the hospital - can charge back to departments to show that this service has value. Will need to have help from the accounting department.
  • Centralize book and journal purchasing for the hospital
  • Get support from community donors and hospital foundation
  • Bringing in grants and awards
    • Provide information support to a grants committee or the grant writer
    • Ask for grant writer support from the hospital to write your own grants
  • Sell health products, especially if you have a consumer health collection; such as pedometers, consumer health books, etc.)
  • Selling books for vendors, like Majors.
  • Identify ways to support community college curriculum re: health (for a fee, of course)
  • Get support from other departments' budgets - charge back to the departmental budgets for some services (It puts a value on your service.)
  • Consult to partner organizations that work with other programs

Risk Management/Legal:

  • Sentinel event/root cause analysis search
    • (save on legal costs)
  • Get involved in Patient safety initiatives (big in JCAHO now)
  • Disaster planning:
    • Support with research and analysis
    • Be a patients go to person

Clinical staff support:

  • Work with docs (or nurses or other groups) on team teaching - to help advocate and model
  • Collect administrative materials - the administrators are staff, after all
  • Cooperate and support health educators with consumer health information as well as publicize the consumer health information that is available in the library to all staff. Let administration know this is a good marketing tool for the hospital. (see Marketing)

Human Resource support:

  • Do employee benefits fairs
  • Talk at new employee orientation
  • Be a resource for hospital committees
  • Work with the marketing department; what can the library do for them (talks in the community, health fairs, etc.) and ask if they can help the library to get its message out.