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Our Proposal May 2001 to April 2006

The mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all US health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public's access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. The University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library has been selected to be the Regional Medical Library for the Southeastern/Atlantic Region. We have developed a comprehensive program that addresses this network mission.

The SE/A program is built around the following guiding principles:

  • Maintain and develop the Network library system as the cornerstone of information access in the Region
  • Maintain a decentralized approach to SE/A outreach programs
  • Identify and set local priorities and create a comprehensive program to address needs with the assistance of local planning teams
  • Market health information services to both health professionals and health consumers
  • Utilize the Internet and web-based technologies as the communication and infrastructure of the Network
  • Pursue excellence by utilizing feedback and evaluation to improve products and services

Using these guiding principles, the HS/HSL will develop programs to meet the following National Network goals:

To develop collaborations with NN/LM libraries to improve access to and sharing of biomedical information resources throughout the nation;

To promote awareness of and access to biomedical information resources for health professionals and the public; and

To develop, promote, and improve access to electronic health information resources by network member libraries, health professionals, and organizations providing health information to the public.

Specific goals for the SE/A are:

To work with libraries in the network to establish connections with health professionals in rural and inner city locations who still do not have adequate access to health information;

To work with the NN/LM and other organizations to increase public awareness of and access to health information via the Internet, with particular focus on senior citizens, minority populations, and persons of low socioeconomic status; and

To strengthen network capabilities through collaborations and by working with national support centers in key areas of need, such as outreach evaluation, training and distance education.

Network Structure

The SE/A will maintain a strong network by recruiting and retaining Full and Affiliate Member libraries to provide information access to health professionals and health consumers. HS/HSL will serve as the Regional Medical Library, and twenty-nine additional academic health sciences libraries with large or unique collections will serve as Resource Libraries. The Director, Executive Director, and five Coordinators help ensure the effectiveness of SE/A programs. There will be three outreach coordinators who manage the education, exhibiting, consumer health and outreach programs in sub-regions of the SE/A. The network access coordinator is responsible for the resource sharing, membership and communication programs. The technology coordinator will promote connections, technology awareness and manage our web activities.

To maintain a strong network, we must ensure a continued labor force by promoting health sciences librarianship to new library school graduates and other librarians. The SE/A will distribute a request for quotation in each year of the contract specifically for the purpose of promoting health sciences librarianship. With 40 library schools (13 with ALA accreditation) and over 900 members, we fully expect to generate creative and successful solutions to labor shortage.

Membership

The NN/LM is dependent on the services provided by its Network members to affiliate and unaffiliated health professionals and the public. A major task of this contract will be to grow the Network. A new category of membership has been introduced & Affiliate Members. An Affiliate Member is a library or information/resource center that is called on for health information by its users, but which does not meet all of the criteria for Full Member participation. An Affiliate Member might form a cooperative relationship with a Full Member, for example, for reference assistance or document delivery or they may elect to become members of DOCLINE. See http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/nnlmem.html for more details.

Membership certificates will be distributed to Full and Affiliate Members in recognition of their contributions to the Network.

DOCUSER will be the official Network member database. The SE/A staff will actively assist network libraries to ensure that institutional data is kept current in DOCUSER.

Resource Libraries

Thirty libraries have agreed to serve as Resource Libraries for the SE/A Region based on the criteria established by NLM for a Resource Library. The key role of the Resource Libraries will be to meet the information access needs of health professionals in this Region through collection acquisition and maintenance and resource sharing. Resource Libraries support the network by participating in DOCLINE and providing Loansome Doc service in their states. Many transmit documents electronically to speed delivery of information.

Resource Libraries are an excellent resource for the Region; they often serve as beta testers for new NLM products and provide leadership and expertise in the library field. These libraries are actively involved in serving the information needs of users in their areas and providing consumer health services or other programs that assist the public with obtaining biomedical information.

Communication

Electronic discussion groups and websites will be the primary vehicles of communication among NLM, the SE/A, and network libraries, health professionals and the public. The SE/A website is an integral component of the NN/LM website. The SE/A will organize, publish, and link to quality information on the NN/LM and SE/A websites and SE/A staff will participate in the development and implementation of new services on the web. Whenever practical, NN/LM and SE/A websites will be the primary place of publication for all documents, materials, and reports created or published by the SE/A staff and subcontractors. The SE/A will publish a new electronic newsletter to communicate important information about regional and national programs, policies and procedures to participants in the region. The SE/A will use the website to publicize exhibits, training opportunities, funding announcements, and other NLM and NN/LM activities.

The SE/A will continue to host a regional electronic discussion group as well as specialized groups, as needed, to conduct business or education in the region.

While the emphasis will be on electronic communication, more traditional methods such as print, person-to-person, telephone, fax and mail will be used also to communicate with network members, health care professionals, consumers, NLM, and other NN/LM offices.

Regional Advisory Council

A Regional Advisory Council (RAC) will be named to assist in regional planning, monitoring and evaluation of SE/A programs. The Council will consist of 12 members representing Resource Libraries, Primary Access Libraries, health professionals, library education, public libraries and the health consumer.

The RAC will meet annually.

State Planning Teams

A state planning team will be convened in each state during the contract to assist in needs assessment and local outreach planning. The team will consist of representatives from the Resource Libraries, Primary Access Library, library and health sciences library associations, state library, public library, state agencies such as rural health or public health, health professional and health consumer groups. The teams will meet once in person and conduct most business through discussion lists. They may be asked to participate as part of the RAC.

Evaluation

A key feature of this contract will be a renewed emphasis on evaluation. Our evaluation plan is three-fold: evaluate SE/A program, provide assistance with the evaluation of NLM products and services, and participate in an NLM evaluation of the SE/A.

In conjunction with the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center, the SE/A, with assistance from the RAC and state planning teams, will develop an outreach evaluation plan for the region. The evaluation will be used to determine how well the SE/A is meeting the goals and objectives of NN/LM and SE/A programs. If these goals and objectives are being met, the programs evaluated will continue. If the evaluation shows that some or all goals and objectives are not being met or have proven to be problematic, recommendations will be made for altering the program.

As requested by NLM, we will provide names of Network members willing to assist with the testing and evaluation of NLM and NN/LM products and services.

In addition, the SE/A will participate in a site visit and review of the program as designed by NLM. Results and recommendations of the site visit and review will be incorporated into the SE/A program.

Feedback

A variety of formats will be used for obtaining ongoing feedback about SE/A and NLM programs and services. These formats include in-person discussion such as RAC and state planning team meetings, electronic discussions, training evaluation forms, and website feedback forms. The feedback received will be forwarded to NLM via quarterly and annual reports, during NN/LM teleconferences, and via other methods as appropriate.

Services to Libraries

Document Delivery

Resource sharing remains a cornerstone of the SE/A Program. The goal of the SE/A Document Delivery Plan is to ensure that all health professionals in the Region have access to biomedical information and that libraries are able to assist health consumers with locating health information.

The SE/A Document Delivery Plan supports the DOCLINE system, including Loansome Doc, as the primary tool for lending and receiving items not owned by the library. The SE/A staff will provide training tools and assistance to members so they can easily and effectively use DOCLINE. They will assist members in maintaining serials holdings information in SERHOLD and interlibrary loan profiles in DOCUSER. All SE/A Network libraries will be encouraged to provide Loansome Doc service to Affiliate Member libraries, affiliated and unaffiliated health professionals, and health consumers.

The SE/A staff will explore new technologies that may assist libraries in implementing more efficient document delivery. In year 01 we will initiate our new, technology improvement program to introduce electronic document delivery. We will provide a funding opportunity to two consortia each of the five years to participate in a project to implement electronic document delivery among members and patrons. Fourteen consortia have indicated interest in participating in these projects.

Technology Awareness

The SE/A will offer funding for at least one technology awareness showcase or forum each year. Events will target health professionals and other interested health related associations. Possible partners for planning and hosting the showcase include: resource libraries, public libraries, health science library associations, health related informatics groups, AHECs, community health centers, public or rural state health departments or associations, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and state-based library groups. A provision of funding will require a class, demonstration or exhibit of NLM products that is relevant to the meeting, group or locality. All or part of the showcase can either be live or presented by videoconferencing or satellite. A second option might be for a Network member to sponsor a "cyber-cafe" at the annual meeting of one of the outreach target populations.

In addition, we will propose to each of the regional MLA chapters to coordinate an all day showcase, forum, exposition, or symposium that focuses on advanced information access technologies. These daylong showcases will target health information providers and include, but not be limited to: librarians, informatics groups, SE/A members, local health providers, health educators, and other health information providers. Activities include speaker presentations, demonstrations, hands-on sessions, discussion groups, panels and vendor demonstrations.

Grants

Shrinking budgets and expanding costs compel libraries to seek external funding sources. Grants provide an excellent source of supplemental funds to purchase new technology, support projects and provide training among other things. The SE/A will promote and encourage the submission of applications for NLM and other government sponsored grants to improve information access locally or to a special population.

To assist Network members to keep abreast of funded projects in the Region, the SE/A will create and maintain a database of all projects funded in the region through the NLM Office of Extramural Affairs and other grant sources. The SE/A will contact the principle investigator of each project and create a database record containing information about the project that would be of interest to Network members. Records will be updated throughout the project and at the end of the project with lessons learned, technology advances made, and outcomes. The query-driven database will be available on the SE/A website.

Library Connectivity

The SE/A will actively promote connectivity initiatives to assist network libraries. We will review annually the information in our Network members' database to find the unconnected libraries as well as to evaluate the adequacy of connections. Since technology is continually changing, it is highly likely that the definition for "underconnected" may have a different meaning in 2-3 years than it does currently. For that reason, it is imperative that this information is gathered and analyzed annually to have an accurate needs assessment for the SE/A libraries. In addition, we will seek the assistance of the RAC and state planning teams in identifying libraries and health associations in their areas that are unconnected or underconnected. Library improvement project funding will be available in each year of the contract to assist with connecting the unconnected and underconnected.

Also, where appropriate, the SE/A will encourage and assist eligible network members in applying for NLM Internet Connections Grants.

Outreach Programs

Outreach to Health Professionals

The SE/A will develop, implement and evaluate targeted outreach programs within the region to bring biomedical information resources within easy reach of US health professionals. All Network members play a role in providing basic information services to affiliated health professionals - access to books, journals, and audio-visuals; access to online databases; and access to expert reference services. Special emphasis will be placed on programs that reach health professionals lacking easy, direct access to biomedical information, or those who serve special populations identified by NLM.

The SE/A Coordinators will play a direct role in training and consulting with many of the health professionals that are not affiliated with an SE/A Network library. We will offer also subcontract opportunities to address an information access problem in their area, to target a specialized population or unconnected health professionals or to address the changing paradigms of medical education and clinical practice. The SE/A outreach coordinators will monitor and support subcontractors in their assigned service areas to ensure that projects proceed successfully.

In year 01 we are funding public health projects with the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University.

In years 2-5, applicants will be encouraged to submit proposals that:

  • Target special populations such as unaffiliated health professionals, health professionals in inner cities and rural areas, health professionals serving minority populations; community health centers serving a special populations; health professionals who work with AIDS/HIV patients;
  • Identify and make available local/regional health resources for minority, inner city, rural or low-income populations;
  • Provide equipment, connections, and training to unaffiliated community health centers that serve minority, inner city, rural or low income populations;
  • Address a health disparity as identified in the state's Healthy People 2010 initiative.

A high priority for the SE/A staff will be given to developing outreach projects and training opportunities with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Seventy-four of the 103 HBCUs are in our Region.

Consumer Health Information Services

Providing accurate and dependable consumer health information is a key service provided by Network libraries to people in their communities. Many libraries and associations have made independent efforts to meet the health information needs of their local users. Identifying these entities and partnering with them to develop and enhance services to the public will be a key objective in the new contract.

The consumer health program provides the SE/A staff with new challenges and opportunities. Our plan is to incorporate recruitment of public, school and academic libraries as Affiliate Members; to offer training classes for librarians providing health information to the public; to partner and collaborate with public and state libraries; partner with existing programs that provide educations programs to target populations; and exhibit at state and public librarian, health professional and health consumer meetings.

Subcontracting will be a key component of our plan. We plan to offer subcontracts in each year of the contract that target low-income, low-literacy, minority and senior and adolescent citizen populations so they may meet their health information needs. Training, connections, identifying and addressing health disparities and development of age and reading appropriate, web-accessible materials will figure prominently in the subcontracting plan.

Four projects are being funded in Year 01:

  • East Tennessee State University - Consumer Health Information Outreach
  • University of Virginia - Partnership for Cancer Information
  • George Washington University - PARTNERS for Consumer Health II
  • University of Maryland - Health Information Outreach to Faith Communities through a Parish Nurse Program

In addition, we will fund library improvement projects at consumer health organizations and libraries currently lacking access to the Internet.

Training

A variety of approaches will be taken to support training of librarians, health professionals, and other intermediaries in the effective use of electronic health information resources on the Internet. The SE/A training program will focus on the use of NLM systems such as PubMed, MedlinePlus, and ClinicalTrials.gov and finding and evaluating Internet health information resources. Training of health professionals, public, school and other librarians, and other intermediaries who do not have access to such training, or who intend to train others, including consumers, will be included in all SE/A subcontracts.

In addition, SE/A Coordinators will provide direct training to librarians and health professionals at association meetings. SE/A staff will collaborate with other NN/LM regional offices and the NN/LM National Training Center and Clearinghouse on the development of training materials and on publishing and organizing training materials on NN/LM websites. SE/A staff will explore opportunities for using new technology in the SE/A training program, including videoconferencing and distance learning.

Exhibits

Exhibiting is one key component of our outreach program. It allows SE/A staff to inform meeting attendees about the Network and NLM products and services; to obtain feedback on products and services; to evaluate and test new products; to train large numbers of potential users at one time; to maintain NLM's visibility as a leader in the biomedical information industry; and to network and cultivate professional contacts

The SE/A will exhibit at national, regional, state and local meetings of health professionals, health sciences and public librarians and health consumers. We will exhibit at state library association meetings as well as state health sciences librarians' meetings in the Region. The SE/A also will exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic and Southern Chapters of the Medical Library Association Annual Meetings and at select health professional and consumer health meetings.

We will once again offer SE/A Network members the opportunity to participate in the exhibits program by volunteering to staff our exhibit at national meetings, by applying for exhibit funding for local/state meetings, and by including exhibits as a component in various subcontract proposals. This program provides members with the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest NLM programs and meet with health professionals or those who serve health consumers in their areas, as well as to work with other health sciences librarians from the region. Outreach subcontractors will be encouraged to include promotional exhibits in their projects so that they can reach a larger targeted audience on a local level.