This guest post is from Terry Ann Jankowski, Assistant Director for User Experience at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Washington, reporting about the project that was funded with a Medical Library Pilot Project Award received from the NN/LM PNR.
For the past 10 years, the Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) has operated in the University of Washington’s undergraduate library. It offers both drop-in and by appointment services to all UW students, staff and faculty. However, it was underutilized by the health sciences population because of its distance from the UW Health Sciences Library (HSL). In 2014 a public health student came to us and proposed that we offer appointments in HSL and OWRC@HSL was born. We offered 150 sessions that year at a 90% fill rate. Buoyed by success we applied for a Medical Library Project Award to offer more sessions, improve the publicity and work with the tutors to increase their understanding of the scientist as a writer.
With the funding we were able to offer almost 500 sessions during the year of the pilot with a 50% fill rate and reached 160 unique users. In addition, usage by the health sciences population at the OUGL site increased by 25% so it would appear that the greater publicity enhanced the visibility of the service overall. Tutors attended discussions with HSL librarians to learn about resources for students and we developed a LibGuide of resources for them. The science librarians on campus sponsored (with financial assistance from our pilot) a panel of editors from STEM journals talking about what it is like to publish in the sciences and several tutors attended that as well.
Two of the top challenges we faced were meshing the tutors’ schedules with our clientele’s schedules as well as settling on a permanent location for OWRC@HSL. A future topic of conversation is how to provide distance support. Both the OWRC and HSL are committed to continuing the service as funding permits and are exploring future directions for this exciting new resource.