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Hospital Evaluation Scan

Image of a man on a library ladder at a tall bookshelf.


The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region has had several library closures during the past five-year contract. For this reason we decided to monitor the ongoing status of our member libraries. We intend to look at trends in budget and issues related to budget such as the collection budget, staffing, library location, and hours of operation. We assume that the budget is a primary factor in the library’s continuing operation. We are also tracking information on the service to and importance of the various groups (e.g., management, physicians, etc.) in the hospital and external events that impact the library. From this data we hope to determine the qualities in the librarian and library’s operations that are indicators for success or are warning signals that indicate the need for assistance.


The NN/LM MCR conducted an online scan of member (full and affiliate) hospital libraries to look at the standing of those libraries within their institutions. The scan was concerned with the relationship between the budget of member libraries and their collection maintenance, staffing, physical location, and hours. The scan also looked at major community events and the impact on the hospital and the library. In addition, the scan compared the major users of the hospital library to the users that had the most influence over the continued health of the library.

The scan asked:

  1. for their LIBID;
  2. for their non-profit/for profit status;
  3. for their 2009-2010 budget compared to the 2008-2009 budget;
  4. about the affect of the 2009-2010 collection budget on their collection size;
  5. whether there were changes on their staffing level;
  6. whether there were changes in their hours, location, physical space or accessibility and the involvement of the librarian in the decision making process;
  7. about the ranking  of various  groups in importance of impact on status of the library;
  8. for the ranking of the top users of the library;
  9. about new programs and services;
  10. whether the library has a long range plan and whether it had management approval; and
  11. about external events that impacted the hospital and the library.

The scan was distributed to 127 full and affiliate member hospitals in the region and completed in April 2011. Sixty-three (49%) usable responses were submitted. Hospital responses from other regions were not counted in the results. Obvious test replies were also discarded. Ten libraries did not provide a LIBID, so determining state affiliation was not possible. Responses indicating state location were:

Number of Responses
Response Rate by State

(Figure 1) Responses by State

Of the total number of usable responses, sixty reported coming from a non-profit organization and three from a for profit organization. Data collected in this scan did not show significant responses when analyzed by state due to the small numbers received. When the scan is completed in 2012, analysis by state may be more meaningful.

Results Summary:

  • Budgets for hospital libraries in the MidContinental Region remained the same with 48% of libraries reporting a static budget. Equal numbers of libraries (25%) reported either an increase or a decrease in budget amount.
  • Thirty-six libraries were able to maintain their collection, twenty were forced to decrease their collection and five were able to increase their collection.
  • Staffing, location, and library hours remained the same for a large majority of libraries.
  • 44% of libraries report having a long-range plan.
  • Physicians are reported to be the users having the greatest impact on the library and are also the most frequent users of the library. Nurses are reported to be the second most influential group on the library as well as the second highest user group. Management is reported to have significant impact on the library, but is not reported to be a high user of library resources and services. Allied health professionals and education professionals use the library, but are not reported as being heavy users or having a significant impact on the library.
  • The majority of respondents did not report a significant community event affecting the hospital or the library. Those who did report such an event mentioned the general economy, hospital expansion or upgrades, new hospitals opening in the area, H1N1, health care reform, and closure of hospitals in the area.
  • Community events affecting the library resulted in increased requests for services, budget cuts, cuts in hours, changes in services, and seeking additional funding.

The final report of the scan will be completed and posted on the NN/LM MCR web site.

–    Barb Jones, Missouri/Library Advocacy Coordinator

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