Librarian office hours in a family practice unit
AbstractObjective – To determine if the implementation of well-advertised "librarian office hours" in a busy clinical department of a teaching hospital would increase utilization of library services. Setting – The open-concept office of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Toronto Western Hospital site of the University Health Network. Program – As of June 2004, a librarian provided monthly office hours during the lunch hour in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Staff were encouraged to e-mail any specific issues or questions to the librarian in advance of consultation, if possible, but all consultations were otherwise provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Results – In the 7-month period since the librarian office hours were initiated, 21 separate training sessions or consultations were provided to this department. This constitutes 15 sessions more than the number of sessions provided to this group in the same 7-month period in the previous year. Concurrently, the number of literature search requests made by this department has doubled compared with the same 7-month period in the previous year. Conclusion – User-centered information services for primary care professionals need to be mindful of clients' information-seeking preferences and lack of time. While providing librarian visits to individual hospital departments may not be the best use of a librarian's limited time and resources, in the drive to meet the unique needs of general practice, such an approach may be an advantageous way of librarians meeting client needs in the context of their own environment. Further examination of the benefits of approaches similar to this concept, for both librarians and hospital staff, is warranted.
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