Transforming a Library Service within a Provincial Healthcare Organization: Forging a New Path
Introduction: Prior to 2011, libraries within Alberta Health Services (AHS) operated using a variety of self-determining service models across 19 locations. Evaluation of library services demonstrated significant gaps in service delivery and access to resources, cost inefficiencies and variation in library service standards across the province. National and international trends reflected ongoing library closures and challenges to demonstrate library contributions to organizational goals and improvements in health information literacy.
Description: In January 2011, all AHS library services were aligned under the Knowledge Management Department to capitalize on the natural fit between libraries as conduits to evidence and knowledge management practices that support the use of evidence in practice. The mandate was to develop enterprise-wide library resources and services to support clinical decision-making and quality patient care under the umbrella of the Knowledge Resource Service (KRS). The Business Case for KRS Optimization guided this initiative.
Outcome: KRS is now a focal point for access to, and expertise in, healthcare information resources and services. Organization-wide evaluations conducted in 2011 and 2014 show increased user satisfaction, while utilization analytics reflect continued growth.
Discussion: The KRS Optimization Initiative was a proactive, internally driven effort to extend library services and resources beyond the traditional library space, streamline ‘back-office’ functions and allow staff to contribute to organizational initiatives. The path has been winding yet lessons learnt include the value of dedicated staff, teamwork, and maintaining a focus on improving service for all AHS staff and clinicians.
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