A Hidden Gem: Noble Learning Resource Center
In this entry, we can see how a library can truly be integrated into all aspects of a hospital. Key conversations and offering a high level of individualized service can show the value of a library to the medical community.
By Christine Willis, MLIS, Librarian, Noble Learning Resource Center, Shepherd Center
The Noble Learning Resource Center is a hidden gem at Shepherd Center. During the past two years the number of requests to the library has practically doubled but as we all know, libraries are more than numbers. Some of these requests go to the heart of what the library resource center can provide for a hospital and its patients.
The NLRC has become a place for a mother to check out books on brain injury as she is learning to cope with her adult son’s injury.
- The NLRC is where a patient with a spinal cord injury came when he found himself with a skin sore. He wanted to learn all he could about what the treatments are and what more he can do to prevent another one. After his recovery he has brought a friend to the library to show that person the information he had referenced.
- The NLRC is where therapy staff brings their patients to look up information online that will benefit the patient when they return to their community. The therapists point out the books and information sheets and then encourage the patients to learn all they can while they are here at Shepherd.
- The NLRC is also a key part of the research that is conducted here at Shepherd Center. Researchers, therapists and nurses are able to access library resources to assist them in grant proposals, research articles and personal education needs.
- The NLRC resources are even better than Google. One day when doing a staff training session one impressed person asked, “So I should use this rather than Google when I’m looking up meds?” My response, “Yes, yes you should use this database for drug information.” Changing habits is one of the best things a librarian can hope for when it comes to quality health information seeking.
These may seem like typical requests for a library, and they are, but for the recipients of this information it is as if the Noble Learning Resource Center is the only place that could help them find exactly what they need.
In early 2011 I had a conversation with a member of the Shepherd Center Foundation who funds the library about what the Noble Learning Resource Center provides. He wanted to know what a potential donor should know about the NLRC. I shared with him that the NLRC is more than a place where people can check out medical books. It offers patients, families and staff the opportunity to learn and to better patient outcomes. After a little more discussion regarding the services and databases offered I did share some statistics and the library budget. This gentleman was shocked that the library did all that I had described with the relatively small budget it uses to operate. This conversation may turn into more funding or it may not, but I have heard this same gentleman brag about the library to co-workers and visitors when before our meeting I don’t think he quite understood what all went on in this little room down the hall. Some days it’s the small victories that really matter.