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RAC and Associations Planning Meeting

NER Regional Advisory Council and Associations Planning Meeting

On July 24, 2009 health science library leaders were convened as part of the annual NER RAC meeting. The RAC meeting is held regularly to gather feedback for NER programs. The overall goal of this year’s meeting was to gather leaders of the region’s health science library associations, RAC participants, and Resource Library directors to identify areas of need and to possibly draw a plan that combines the work of all constituents to work together towards meeting those needs.

24 librarians from the region and 6 NER staff attended the meeting moderated by an outside facilitator. Through large and small group exercises the group discussed our roles and needs in the areas of education and training, advocacy and outreach, and resource sharing and consortial arrangements. Next the group organized and synthesized a brainstormed list of 32 needs based on the ‘what do librarians need to better serve users’. Out of the 12 combined and compiled needs five encompassing needs or themes developed:

1. Changing Roles: Clarifying/redefining our roles as librarians, shifting our own paradigm, changing the perception of our roles throughout our institutions, modeling this shift after other professions. How do we impact broader healthcare delivery issues?

2. The Professional Development Continuum: Developing opportunities to learn throughout the career span. Learn more about emerging areas in clinical and research disciplines in hospital and academic settings.

3. Marketing/Impact: Positioning ourselves as part of the health care team in order to impact broader health care delivery issues.

4. Tools Development: A clearinghouse model for educational opportunities, educational curricula/learning aids, a place to find out who is providing what services.

5. Assessment and Evaluation: Developing skills and models for assessment of user needs and evaluation of library services.

After putting together the five themes a small group exercise was done to develop lists of action items or activities organized by the possible group that would conduct the activity: the RML, the associations, or individual libraries.

While the group was able to brainstorm the above actions, more discussion will take place to decide whether the action or activity should be developed and who should carry out the activity.

Several groups will be convened in conjunction with the upcoming chapter conference. These groups will represent subgroups of the RAC like the Hospital Library Subcommittee and Resource Library Directors as well as representatives from state and chapter associations to discuss the five areas and their possible action items.

We are hoping that what emerges from these discussions are concrete plans that can be adopted by the region and its groups (RML, associations, as well as individual libraries and librarians) as a platform onto which programs and activities can be developed.

The Planning Meeting generated a great deal of thought and energy regarding some of the issues facing our health sciences libraries. The group has laid the groundwork for what can be considered a regional course of direction that we can take in order to recast our profession into one that can take on a greater role in health care.

Thanks to those who attended the meeting and to those who will participte in the upcoming planning meetings.

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