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Regional Medical Library Funding Renewed

RML staff

In the 1960s, in response to the Medical Library Assistance Act, the National Library of Medicine created a new program called the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) “to bring the power and strength of the great medical libraries of the country closer to the user, whatever his geographic location.” Today, the NN/LM includes eight Regional Medical Libraries (major institutions under contract with the National Library of Medicine), including the Regional Medical Library contracted to the University of Washington Health Sciences Library since 1968. Last spring, the National Library of Medicine renewed a 5-year contract with the Regional Medical Library (RML) at the University of Washington for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region (NN/LM PNR) program in 2006-2011.

The NN/LM PNR mission is to ensure access to quality health information throughout Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, particularly by underserved health care providers and consumers, via a regional network of libraries, information centers, and community based organizations.

The NN/LM PNR Web site (http://nnlm.gov/pnr) serves as a portal for network programs and services, and provides a link to the many National Library of Medicine resources, including the popular PubMed database of biomedical article citations (http://pubmed.gov) and the MedlinePlus consumer health information resource (http://medlineplus.gov).

In the new 2006-2011 contract, RML staff are continuing to provide expertise to the regional network about online health information and resource sharing, community partnerships, outreach program development and evaluation. The RML offers or sponsors distance and onsite training to improve awareness and skills in health information literacy, technology and e-tools. Network members and RML staff exhibit and present about health information topics and resources for diverse professionals and community groups (e.g. public librarians, parish nurses, emergency medical technicians, low income and senior residents, and teens, to name a few).

To promote the use of quality health information – particularly in communities with pronounced health disparities – the RML provides subcontracts and awards to libraries and community-based partners to assess, plan, and carry out health information-related projects. In Year 1 of the new contract , the RML is funding state and local health information programs and services, such as: digital libraries for the public health workforce; training to increase evidence-based practice by speech and language disorder professionals; a web-based information resource library of multi-cultural information on immunizations; and a Go Local project in Montana that will link MedlinePlus users to health services in their local community.

New to this contract, all eight RMLs in the NN/LM are being asked to assist the NLM on the following national initiatives:

–Developing and implementing a National Emergency Preparedness Plan
–Identifying collections of historical and unique materials related to the health sciences

Specific requirements of the entire 2006-2011 contract are available in the Contract Summary document (via PDF) on http://nnlm.gov/pnr/about/index.html.

Along with the renewed NN/LM PNR contract, UW’s Health Sciences Libraries received two additional awards from the NLM. These two contracts fund the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) (http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/) and the Web Services Technology and Operations Center (Web-STOC), national centers that provide support in program evaluation and web services to the NN/LM’s eight multistate regions and more than 5800 local and state organizations.

For more information, please call the RML office at 800-338-7657.

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