Year at a Glance: What has the Regional Medical Library Been Up To?

Renae BargerHSLS just wrapped up its second year of a five-year contract from the National Library of Medicine to serve as the regional medical library for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region (NN/LM MAR), which includes Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. As one of eight regional medical libraries in the country, our role is to support the efforts of the National Library of Medicine in this region to provide all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improve the public’s access to information so they can make informed decisions about their health.

We accomplish this through a free membership program open to any library, information center, or other organization that provides health information to health professionals or the public. Our members consist of hospital, academic, public and school libraries; community health centers; public health departments; and community-based and faith-based organizations. This year we welcomed 80 new members, raising our membership to nearly 900 institutions. Individuals at member institutions reap the benefits of our in-person and online training on the many reliable health information resources produced by the National Library of Medicine. These resources cover topics such as biomedical literature, clinical trials, chemical and drug information, genetics, environmental health and toxicology, disaster information, consumer health, and science and health education for K-12.

In our second year, NN/LM MAR staff provided training to over 6,000 librarians, health professionals, public health workers, staff at community-based organizations, K-12 school personnel, and the general public through:

  • 67 site visits made to member institutions
  • 89 scheduled training sessions or presentations
  • 693 resource demonstrations while exhibiting at three national and 33 state or local conferences attended by health professionals and consumer groups
  • 10 workshops or CEs offered at state or local conferences

Another way we support the efforts of the National Library of Medicine is to provide funding to our member institutions to support projects that improve access to quality health information, particularly the freely available, reliable resources produced by the National Library of Medicine. This year NN/LM MAR awarded over $450,000 to fund projects to support technology improvement for health information access, outreach to health professionals and consumers, emergency preparedness readiness, MedlinePlus Connect, the Value of Libraries Study, and a group licensing initiative for hospital libraries. NN/LM MAR funding provided support for subcontractors to:

  • Offer 132 trainings and 46 exhibit opportunities to educate and promote awareness of NLM resources to 2,806 health professionals and consumer groups
  • Purchase technology to promote evidence-based health information and offer new or improved reference services
  • Attend or host professional development events and CEs to expand knowledge and experience; and to provide improved health information access and/or services to healthcare researchers, providers and consumers

Congratulations to HSLS and the NN/LM MAR staff for a successful year. If you know of a group of health professionals or other organization providing health information services that would benefit from NN/LM MAR training and funding opportunities, encourage them to become a member or contact us for more information. Membership is free; this is your government tax dollars at work!

~ Renae Barger, Executive Director, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region