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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Inspiring People In Our Region: Nakia Woodward, Senior Clinical Reference Librarian, Quillen College of Medicine Library, East Tennessee State University

Monday, August 18th, 2014







Nakia Woodward, Senior Clinical Reference Librarian

Quillen College of Medicine Library, East Tennessee State University

1. What is your position?

I am the Senior Clinical Reference Librarian at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine Library in Johnson City, TN. We have a small staff, so I get to do a little of everything from clinical reference, outreach (both consumers and clinicians) and instruction, to research. One thing I really love about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day.

2. How long have you been a librarian? Your current position?

I have been a librarian for 10 years and I have been in my current position 3 ½ years.

3. What was the path that led you to your current position?

I was fortunate enough to find a job in my hometown working part-time as a paraprofessional and part-time for an NN/LM funded project as a consumer health librarian. I was then able to move into a reference librarian position when one became available.

4. What made you decide to be a librarian?

I first wanted to be a librarian at age 3 when I decided checking out books looked like fun. As I grew up I bounced around majors and career plans before realizing that librarianship is a wonderful profession for people who love being generalists.

5. What do you love most about your outreach work?

The impact I get to have as a medical librarian is mind-blowing. We, as health science librarians, are fortunate enough to see a direct impact of the work we do. I have had physicians tell me that because of searches I have conducted they changed treatment plans and it extended patients’ lives. That is such a humbling thing when you think about it.

6. What do you consider your biggest work related challenge?

Educating people outside the field about what we do and the myriad of services that librarians can provide. This challenge is especially hard when librarians are confronted with people and administrators who feel they already know what we do. We have to break their preconceptions and work to be considered part of an integrated team and not an ancillary service.

7. What do you consider to be the most fulfilling part of your job?

I love that feeling when a student, clinician, or consumer gets exactly the information they needed. I like the connections made between people and information at that point. When I have a patron who wants information for a medical condition and leaves feeling calmer and more in control because of what I helped them find, that makes me feel fulfilled. When we have a rural physician call for information on a condition and we can provide her with the same level of service that we do our on-campus physicians, I know that my work is worthwhile.

8. What do you see as the biggest health concerns in the communities you serve?

Access to care, prescription drug abuse, and obesity are huge issues in east Tennessee. We have had to adapt classes for our students, training for the public, and consumer handouts to reflect these issues. Many of our researchers focus on these areas and we’ve had to stay on top of these developments and initiatives.

9. What do you see as the biggest concerns in hospital and/or health sciences librarianship?

Libraries constantly have to prove their relevance and justify their cost. I think some administrators have the naïve view that databases can take the place of a library. It is crucial for us to get better at promotion and marketing our profession and our libraries to address this issue.

10. How did you first come to know NN/LM SE/A?

I was first hired by ETSU on a project funded by an award from NN/LM SE/A which was the start of my library career. This project was the beginning of the Simple Plan project that went on to train public library workers across the state of Tennessee with 12 hours of continuing education focusing on consumer health.

11. In what ways has NN/LM SE/A benefited you or your organization?

NN/LM SE/A is a priceless resource. Our library would not have been able to do most of its outreach efforts without support from NN/LM SE/A. They have provided us with project funding, training opportunities, ideas for future projects, and program development support. We are very fortunate to have assistance from the NN/LM SE/A.

12. Can you share a success story about the impact of health outreach in your community?

We just finished an NN/LM SE/A funded project which provided mini-iPads to clinicians in 8 faith-based clinics for the working uninsured and a desktop computer to go in the lobby for registering for the Affordable Care Act and to provide consumer health information. The clinic workers are determined that their patients will not receive a lower quality of service because they are uninsured. The equipment and training were well received and the clinics are all now using as their go-to consumer education resource.

13. What advice would you give others who are interested in doing health outreach work in their communities?

Partnership and collaboration are crucial to outreach success. The main reason so many of our projects have been successful over the years is because of strong partnerships. Partnering with NN/LM SE/A provides a fantastic foundation for a plan, but also partnering with local groups such as churches, faith-based clinics, public libraries, community centers, etc., can lead to many successful initiatives. Look for people who may be interested in outreach since health is an issue that impacts everyone. Some of our successful partnerships include the following:

  • We began a project a few years ago which provided consumer health information at Remote Area Medical clinics in our region. Members of our local health sciences library consortium partnering with public libraries would show up at 6:30 in the morning for the event. We performed on-site consumer health information searches for the uninsured attendees. We provided our contact information and many attendees contacted us to receive further health information. (NN/LM SE/A funded)
  • We have collaborated with Preston Medical Library at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the Tennessee State Library and Archives to provide extensive training on consumer health to all non-metro library workers across the state of Tennessee. (NN/LM SE/A funded)
  • We partnered with the Tennessee Hospital Association to provide handheld devices to rural clinicians. We have provided hundreds of devices to rural clinicians to assist them in getting access to health information so they are not penalized for choosing to be rural practitioners. (NN/LM SE/A funded)

The Value Study as a Tool for Library Advocacy (Boost Box session)

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


  • Joanne Gard Marshall, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Julia Sollenberger, Associate Vice President and Director, Medical Center Libraries and Technologies, University of Rochester Medical Center

Date / Time: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 / Noon – 1 pm (ET)


Online / No Registration Required

Summary: The speakers will present the results of the Value Study the most useful for library advocacy and discuss how results are being used by librarians across the country. Over 16,000 physicians, residents and nurses served by 56 libraries participated in the study. As a result, the findings can be used by both participating and non-participating libraries.

Librarians are using the results to advocate for the importance of the library through posters, presentations, newsletters and personal contacts with administrators, educators and clinicians. Time saved by health professionals is also being also converted into dollars saved to show cost-effectiveness. Our examples show that librarians are using the results, but customizing their advocacy efforts so that they have maximum impact on their institution.

Librarians are making frequent use of the resources available on the Value Study website:, containing an overview of the study results suitable for presentation. Librarians are welcome to use the full presentation or key slides as needed.  Specialized PowerPoint summary reports are also available based on geographic region, as well as AAHSL and non-AAHSL sites, and the profession of respondents. The site provides access to the data and all supporting materials, including the survey. Features encourage data use, benchmarking with similar types of libraries, as well as study replication. Links to peer reviewed journal articles based on the study results are also available on the site. Two new publications, one in a nursing journal and one in a health care management journal are about to appear. Results from these additional analyses will be discussed.

Share Your Success: 2013 Winner Announced

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Southeastern/Atlantic Region (NN/LM SE/A) is pleased to announce that Joan Colburn, Director of Library and Knowledge Services at Mountain AHEC in Ashville, NC, has won our National Medical Librarians Month (NMLM) Share Your Success drawing for a $1000 MLA 2014. travel scholarship. She will be able to charge up to $1000 for airfare, hotel, and per diem to the NN/LM SE/A  for the MLA 2014 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

We want to thank everyone who submitted a story about your success. There were not as many submissions this year as in previous years, so feel free to give us suggestions on how we may promote medical libraries and medical librarians in our region.

Congratulations, Joan.  We’ll be seeing you in Chicago, IL!

Share Your Success: GIS Service at Mountain AHEC

Monday, November 4th, 2013

by Joan Colburn, MLIS, Library and Knowledge Services, MAHEC, Asheville, NC

In December of 2012 I invited my CEO, and another of our physicians, to tell me their designs and desires for library services. This was risky – these are two innovative, forward-thinking, high-energy individuals. I was geared up for out-of-the-box creative ideas.

We discussed many inventive options for information management and delivery, but something I had not expected came up – visually sharing information with mapping. This is not a new concept, of course, but is not typical for health sciences librarians, and certainly not a skill anyone in our library possessed. Thus, I thought I’d share our process and how we’ve used this helpful tool.

Years before becoming a librarian, I studied and worked in the field of medical geography, so I was enthusiastic about the idea. However, my experience with geographic systems was way before today’s sophisticated electronic mapping tools. I hired a local consultant for training in GIS – Geographic Information Systems, and we purchased the software ArcMap, made by ESRI.

Searching for and manipulating data for input to maps is very time-consuming. I’ve read that 75-80% of mapping is preparing the data for input, and I’ve found that to be the case for my efforts. Though the learning curve for getting up to speed with ArcMap was very steep, this complicated system allows the flexibility we need for creating maps with multiple attributes. And, the end results are incredibly satisfying, and useful tools.

How have we used GIS for displaying healthcare information? I’ve been asked to create a wide variety of maps, including maps of the healthcare safety net system in North Carolina – which demonstrated the regional variances in how the healthcare system has evolved in our state, maps showing the locations of our residency and fellowship graduates, and maps displaying Health Professional Shortage Areas and county Economic Tier status. Maps I’ve created have been used for planning, grant applications, and publications.

What started out as a dream service to possibly develop sometime in the future became a useful tool within a few months. Although learning new, complicated software was extremely challenging, the result is highly valued. Responses from my CEO have included “These are terrific!” and “Awesome!  It tells an important story. “

Share Your Success: Expanding the Librarian’s Role

Friday, November 1st, 2013

by Karen L. Roth, Manager, Library Services & Knowledge Management, Baycare Health System, Clearwater, FL

After several months of negotiations, I managed to upgrade my position (and salary) along with that of the library assistant (and her salary as well).  My original position was manager of the medical library for Morton Plant Mease Health Care with a half-time (with benefits) library assistant.  In the last 6 months that changed.  My new title is still manager but of library services and knowledgement management.  At this time the “new” job entails running not only the library portion but also all possible knowledge contracts for BayCare, the parent company.  Morton Plant Mease is 4 hospitals, several outpatient centers, lots of doctors and team members.  BayCare is 11 (soon to be 12) hospitals, more outpatient centers, 20,000 team members and probably 4,000 doctors in the Tampa Bay area. 

Physically, we are down to 3 actual library spaces, 1 MLS librarian (me), 1 full-time library services coordinator (originally the half-time library assistant), and 1 full-time research specialist to cover all of BayCare.  I am quickly passing on the daily library work and getting more involved in contracts for BayCare.  I am also presently planning tours at all the BayCare facilities to let everyone know what is available to them and how to access all the material. 

The KM (knowledge management) portion of my new position is still waiting for a fuller definition.  Until I figure that out, I have started working on changing hospital contracts, such as those with Ebsco and Elsevier, into BayCare contracts.  I am trying to keep costs within range since many vendors have decided more employees equals more charges.   Much of the work on contracts is known to me, having negotiated with the same vendors for years.  New vendors are intriguing, trying to sell repackaged products at much elevated prices.  I have begun working with IT more closely, trying to update and reimagine the Physicians’ Portal.  I am also getting involved in the vendor negotiations for the consumer health portion of the public BayCare website ( ).  There are many challenges here because the librarian does not look at these sites the same way the IT professional does.  I find myself trying to educate as well as learn at the same time. 

My reporting structure has also changed.  As librarian for Morton Plant Mease I reported to the Director of Medical Education who is also the head of the one residency program that we have.  I asked to maintain that relationship because I enjoy working on with the faculty and residents and learn much from them.  But now I report to the CMIO, the Chief Medical Informatics Officer.  He is a relatively new person within BayCare and we are learning together how KM will be part of the electronic medical record.

I also have the opportunity to meet more of the doctors and nurses and other staffs in the BayCare facilities.  New faces, new questions make each day different and pose new thoughts.  I believe this new position will continue to grow and embrace new possibilities for many years.

Last updated on Friday, 22 November, 2013

Funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2011-00004-C with the Health Sciences and Human Services Library of the University of Maryland