Librarian Support for Researchers in Ontario Hospitals


  • Mary McDiarmid Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences Department of Research and Academics, Library
  • Michael Thomas Lam Undergraduate Student, Bachelor of Medical Science Program, Elgin Hall, Western University



hospital libraries, research support, researchers


Introduction This study investigates the extent to which Ontario hospital librarians and library resources support researchers and describe the librarians' participation in research capacity building within their institutions. 

Methods A 16-question SurveyMonkey™ web-based survey questionnaire was disseminated via email to 53 potential participants consisted of library directors, managers and solo librarians.  

Results The response rate was 60%. The number of researchers supported by librarians ranged from 10 or less to 76 or more researchers in the past 10 months. Librarians supported a variety of scholarly research outputs, assisting researchers with journal articles being the most frequently supported activity.  The top three library resources used to support researchers were licensed electronic journals, print collections and expert librarian searches. One of the reported ways librarians received training to better assist researchers was via online continuing education.

Discussion As others have reported, there was a predominance of support for literature studies including literature reviews and systematic reviews. Surprisingly, some librarians reported that they had all the databases or resources they needed to support research, while an alarming 79 per cent of respondents reported not having access to all the databases and resources they needed.  Lack of access to databases or online resources may have a negative effect on the quality of research the librarians provided. Raising the awareness of the role of the librarian in supporting researchers in the hospital setting can inform the health sciences librarians' professional practices and provide evidence of the library's participation in the research capacity building of the organization. 


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How to Cite

McDiarmid, M., & Lam, M. T. (2018). Librarian Support for Researchers in Ontario Hospitals. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association Journal De l’Association Des bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, 39(2), 21–27.



Research Articles