After attending the CILIP NW members day I made contact with Michael at Bolton NHS Library and arranged to do a couple of days shadowing with him. I was interested in health libraries because I'd previously worked as health lead for a public library service but not been able to do much with the role. We also have a huge health and social care department at the college so the consumer health remit of the Bolton library would be especially relevant.
I've made detailed logs of the two days but I wanted to summerise some of the main points I took from the visit. I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed the experience (and not just because it got me out of my library - I was actually on holiday anyway)
So my top three things (in no particular order) from my 2 days at Bolton Health Libray.
- Revisiting literature reviews - LRs were something I did in Library School and practiced (badly) during my dissertation. And that's it. As a public and FE academic librarian literature reviews are not something I do, we might show students how to do them in a simplified way but it's not a service we offer, even to the tutors at the college. Therefore I really enjoyed going through Michael's systematic flowcharts and discovering relevant information about subjects I have zilch knowledge about. I'm thinking of adapting the system to adapt for our HE students, maybe using an Infographic approach.
- Learning about health resources I didn't know existed (like NHS Evidence) and seeing leaflets and posters in a new light. After seeing the poster collection at Bolton I can't help but think that a similar collection would be really valuable to our Health and Social Care Students. Now we just need to find the room!
- Learning about the process and tools involved in putting together a current awareness blog like the one Michael maintains at http://boltonpctlibrary.wordpress.com I always knew doing current awareness was hard work but I don't think I'd appreciated how much time it needs to do it well. Thanks to Michael for giving credits for this post I'm not sure how much I helped! I'm not sure I could manage current awareness at this level across all our subjects at the college but I certainly think we need to start giving out short, relevant and timely bursts of information on a more regular basis than we do now.
Thanks again and I hope I can return the favor sometime.