Monday, September 14, 2015

Consolidating Hospital Library Services


Consolidating Hospital Library Services 
Thursday, September 17, 2015
9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific 
Led by Isaac Huffman and Mike Scully

Librarians took the affiliation of Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services as an opportunity to consolidate library services. A library holding group (holding company) model was used to achieve this.

Join Isaac Huffman (Director of System Library Services) and Mike Scully (Medical Librarian) as we discuss how this model was implemented on the #medlibs Twitter chat. Never been to a Twitter chat before? Check out this overview and come on in - all are welcome including first timers, lurkers, students and others interested in the topic and the field.

A pre-publication abstract below details the process:

Creating a library holding group

Objectives: Faced with resource constraints, many hospital libraries have considered some form of joint operations to change with the modern healthcare landscape. This paper outlines how a large health care system created a library holding group to address the pressures facing budget and staffing while building a unified service. This holding company model’s flexibility and ability to expand made it an attractive model for developing a unified service.

Method: After many failures at a full systematization of library services, library leadership shifted its approach for unified operations opting for a library holdings group. Using a holding company as the general model the core objective was to acquire assets in order to grow information services. Four methods of acquiring new resources were identified. These included acquisitions, new sales, partnerships and takeovers. In this manner the organization grew system-wide library services from a zero budget, zero employee entity into a fully formed group inside of a central budget.

Results: The library holding group was able to make 256 external acquisitions (individual budget line item transfers for items like journals and electronic resources.), 9 internal library acquisitions (whole department budget transfers) and 4 partial library acquisitions (partial budget transfers). These acquisitions along with three key resource partnerships and a new service agreement expanded the library footprint and nearly doubled resource access across the health care system. The library staffing model also created additional professional roles while retaining its core employees. This model did have implementation challenges: these included facing negative external image impressions, disruption of library staff duties and roles, and difficulty providing services to select patrons.

Conclusions: Creating a joint operations model that allowed for the case by case inclusion and exclusion of resources and services provided a great deal of flexibility over other all in models attempted in the past. Key lessons included learning how to audit organizational spending and how to sell services to potential acquisitions, and creating a holding group culture that attracted membership. Although many challenges remain the library holding group success points to a viable model of unified operations for libraries, especially for those within a larger corporate entity.

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