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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

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.

Inspiring People in Our Region: Katherine Kohler-Eastman, MLIS – Interim Director of Learning Resources, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Friday, October 11th, 2013


“Be open to collaboration and going beyond the way you did things at your last institution.”

Katherine Kohler-Eastman, MLIS
Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interim Director of Learning Resources

I am currently the Interim Director of Learning Resources for the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. I started as the librarian tasked with interlibrary loan and technical services, but stepped up when we found ourselves without a director. There’s a lot of change and upheaval in creating a new medical school. That’s what makes it so exciting.

Is there something in your own personal story that led you to do this work?
I had always planned to wind up in academics, though the original plan involved a PhD in Literature.  During the senior year of my BA studies, I audited a graduate course that included guest lectures from visiting and local professors. After the academic librarian came in and gave his presentation, my plan changed. 

My entry into medical librarianship took a more circuitous route. I did take the medical libraries class from Dr. MacCall at the University of Alabama, but then went into the private sector for a couple years. Providing almost exclusively health science reference service at my most recent library position opened my eyes. PubMed Clinical Queries, evidence-based medicine and genome studies – Are you kidding me? How amazing is medical literature research?!  I felt excited when I accepted the position of Assistant Librarian here at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Interim Director position has been a completely new side of librarianship, but I’m looking forward to all of the great projects and innovations we have planned.

What do you enjoy most about your outreach work?
Well, right now it’s mostly in the planning stages. Helping to build a medical school from the ground up is exhilarating, but time consuming. The former director and I made plans to develop targeted consumer health presentations for the local public library on topics such as diabetes and age-related illness. The really exciting thing is that the school successfully applied for a grant to develop an interactive learning portal for students to use during their third and fourth years of medical training.The modules cover local health topics in Alabama and the surrounding area, and the hope is that it will help increase awareness of the health disparities in the communities where our students will be living and working.

What is the biggest challenge in what you do?
We’re a brand new medical college.  That brings a lot of challenges, but also a lot of room for innovation and change.  The biggest challenge for our students seems to be growing pains from the amount of technology they’re required to learn. Adapting to the Surface Pro, an almost-entirely electronic collection, electronic textbooks, electronic course delivery and electronic testing; that’s a lot of adaptation for a student to make. We even have electronic patients, though I suppose the preferred term is animatronic simulators. Medical education is overwhelming by itself without throwing technology into the mix, but I think the students are rising to meet the challenge exceptionally well.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your work in terms of working with the new medical school faculty and staff?
Excitement is infectious. The students, faculty and staff are brimming with so much enthusiasm that you can’t help but be swept away. Plus, it’s always nice to have the resources and assistance the library provides receive such a strong positive reaction. Usually getting instructors to adopt a new resource takes a fair bit of cajoling or strong-arming, but our faculty are really receptive to a lot of the point-of-care and anatomical resources we provide. I became a librarian because I like to help and I enjoy linking patrons with resources, so being able to do so and get such an enthusiastic response in return is very rewarding.

Can you say a few words about your fundraising efforts and how these efforts have served to enrich the library?
So far, the Southeast Alabama Medical Center Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Houston County Health Authority, supports most of the fund-raising efforts for the library and the college.  They held a juried art show and auction, and the majority of the art on campus was donated through that event. Again, one of the great things about being a new school is there are always plans for further projects, collaboration and growth. In the future, I see the library taking a much larger role in fundraising efforts for the college.

Regarding strategy, how do you see your library’s services, products and staff changing over the next three years to meet customers’ needs?  Secondly, do you see new opportunities for librarians “outside” of the library?
We’ve already had a fair bit of change.  I see our products shifting to have a more clinical focus as students move into their third and fourth year of medical school, and then on into their graduate medical education.  Staff-wise, I hope that we can move in a direction with even more of an embedded library presence in the curriculum. I hope to push for more integrated, informed learning style andragogy for health information resources and point-of-care products. There’s talk of expanding the number of staff to accommodate a clinical rounds role as well, which is fairly exciting.

What do you see as the biggest health concerns/obstacles in the communities served by the medical staff, librarians and students?
The college was really established to help reduce the current and projected shortage of primary care physicians in rural Alabama and the surrounding areas. The biggest health concern I see for the communities we serve, other than having almost 40% fewer doctors per capita than people who live in large cities or suburbs, are diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stroke. 

How did you first come to know NN/LM SE/A?
During my onboarding. My first few weeks on campus I spent studying resources for topics I might have to cover in brown bag lunches and in the course of providing reference service and research assistance for students and faculty. I have a good half of the pages available on the SEA NN/LM website bookmarked in one folder or another.  Barbara Shearer, who consulted on the library before any staff were hired, also strongly encouraged reaching out to the Southeastern/Atlantic Region of NN/LM.

In what ways has NN/LM SE/A been of help to you?
All of them? I found the training offered on DOCLINE immensely helpful in getting our college set up and active using SERHOLD. Plus, as I mentioned above, I’ve probably downloaded and worked through the course materials for twenty-five or thirty classes in the NN/LM SEA Training section. Now that I’ve stepped into a different role within the library, I’ve found that contacts I made initially have been lifesavers in navigating the responsibilities of a director.

Can you share a library success story about the impact of a particular work effort that was involved in the planning or operation of the medical school?
With a background as an instruction librarian, I’m proudest of the enthusiastic integration of library resources into a living curriculum. There are academic planning committees that meet weekly or biweekly and discuss how the curriculum can be modified to best serve our students.  One key element of the curriculum is designated study assignments (DSAs) that send students traipsing through our collection and resources. Resources like LWW Health Library, Biodigital Human, Acland’s Atlas of Anatomy, Epocrates, Dynamed or Cochrane – that most schools leave it up to the students to discover – have become part of a vibrant and proactive curriculum. The amount of input and influence the library has over methods of information mastery is really amazing compared to other academic libraries where I’ve worked, and I’m hopeful that we can continue to integrate state-of-the-art information literacy instruction methodologies into even more aspects of the curriculum in a seamless and unobtrusive way.

What advice would you give other librarians who uniquely find themselves in the formative stages of bringing a fully accredited medical school to fruition?
Breathe. Be open to collaboration and going beyond the way you did things at your last institution. Reach out to members of your regional Medical Library Association and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

For further information, please contact PJ Grier at

Share Your Success and Enter for a Chance to Win a $1000 Travel Award to MLA 2014

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

We’ve gotten a late start, but October is National Medical Librarian Month, and NN/LM SE/A wants to celebrate your success. Last year’s “Share Your Success” event was terrific, featuring a series of awe-inspiring stories about library advocacy and new roles for librarians. Judy Burnham and Carolyn Schubert won the drawing for two $1000 travel awards for the 2013 MLA meeting in Boston. 

We are repeating the program this year and are asking for two kinds of stories to share on SEA Currents:

a)      Have you proven your worth to an administrator or told someone how important libraries are, changing his or her behavior?

b)      Have you explored new or non-traditional roles, expanding the realm of what a librarian does?

To enter the contest, tell us about your experience. Or share someone else’s story. Medical libraries around the region face ever-larger challenges, and we all need to work together by sharing our successful strategies to ensure a future for our profession and our institutions. Articles will be published on the NN/LM SE/A SEA Currents blog throughout the month of October and into November.

Authors and subjects of articles will be entered into a competition for a$1000 travel scholarship to MLA 2014 in Chicago, IL. Two awards will be made to cover travel: flight, hotel, and per diems up to $1000.

We will accept entries until October 31, 2013. The winner will be announced on November 1, 2013.

Please submit articles to J. Dale Prince at

Good luck!

Making the Most of the Value Study (Boost Box Session) – August 13, 2013

Monday, August 5th, 2013


• Joanne Gard Marshall, Principal Investigator, Alumni Distinguished Professor, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Kathel Dunn, Coordinator, Associate Fellows Program, National Library of Medicine


Date: August 13, 2013

Time: Noon – 1 pm (Eastern Time)

This session will provide an update on new specialized reports that have been created using the “Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care Study” results, as well as how to access and use the data set from the study. All the items discussed will be made available on the Value Study website. Joanne will also share the results of some advanced data analysis that demonstrate the added value of using the services of the librarian and the searching the library-provided resources in patient care.

The second part of the presentation will discuss ways of mining and using the Value Study data. Kathel Dunn from NLM will share the results of data mining that they have done on users of PubMed/MEDLINE and related resources. The study gathered extensive data on each of the information resources used to answer the clinical questions.

Participants in this session will be encouraged to share their own stories about how they have used or would like to use the study results.

No registration required.

Congratulations: Someone Cares Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Monday, February 18th, 2013

By Nancy Patterson, Community Outreach Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region

Please join us in congratulating our awardee, Someone Cares of Atlanta, on their recognition by the Black AIDS Institute as a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Congrats to Ronnie & everyone at Someone Cares! and


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