‘Those Personal Connections are Really, Really Helpful’

When workers need information, they can ask their organization’s librarians for assistance. But where do those librarians turn for help when they need information?

If they’re SLA members, they know they can rely on their networks of local and subject-specific peers in the special library profession for advice. For example, Abby Thorne, a health care librarian in Kentucky, wouldn’t think twice about turning to a colleague in the SLA Biomedical & Life Sciences Division or the Kentucky Chapter for answers.

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“If I have a question in my job right now, I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone or send an e-mail to one of the other chapter members and ask them how they would deal with it,” she told Information Outlook during her interview for the March-April issue. “Those personal connections are really, really helpful.”

The health education coordinator at University of Kentucky HealthCare in Lexington, Abby worked several temporary and project-based jobs before finding her current position, which she describes as both “very unusual” and “really fun.” She sees health care as a field in which librarians can contribute to a number of positive outcomes, such as lowering readmission rates in hospitals and saving patients money.

“I would hope to see more library positions in health care as more and more facilities realize that the skills librarians possess can help them—skills like researching evidence-based practice,” she said. “Librarians are the experts in researching, and they have a little more time to do that than nurses on the floor, who are taking care of patients. Also, librarians can do things like verifying that the patient education materials that hospitals provide reflect current best practice. These are roles for which librarians are uniquely suited, so they can save organizations time and money and save patients from potentially bad outcomes or bad experiences in the hospital.”

To learn more about Abby and her experiences and perspectives, read the interview.

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