We know that rural hospitals are economically stressed and that hospital libraries are closing. This is particularly notable in New Hampshire and Vermont. NER was interested in hearing how this is impacting the remaining hospital librarians.
On February 9, we invited twelve people who are interested in the fate of hospital libraries in NH and VT. We asked three questions: How are librarians coping with the loss of their colleagues in NH and VT? How can the NLM Public Services Division support the work of hospital librarians in NH and VT? How can NNLM support the work of hospital librarians in NH and VT? The goal was for the Network to gather perceptions, insights, and experiences of hospital librarians in New Hampshire and Vermont.
Nine hospital libraries remain in New Hampshire and Vermont. Two hospital libraries are affiliated with schools of medicine (University of Vermont and Dartmouth College), two hospital libraries are at Veterans Affairs medical centers (Manchester, NH and White River Junction, VT), and one hospital librarian serves two for-profit hospitals in New Hampshire.
Only three non-profit community hospitals have libraries, and these are located in New Hampshire. The University of Vermont Libraries provides library services to Vermont hospitals for an annual fee and pay-per-service. At least one New Hampshire hospital is contracting with Hilton Publishing Company International for virtual librarian services.
Interlibrary loan services in academic medical centers are shifting towards centralization in the academic libraries, and this is impacting their participation in DOCLINE. Participants in the Focus Group reported that Dartmouth College stopped participating in DOCLINE. They asked if the National Library of Medicine could do exit interviews for libraries that leave DOCLINE, as this impacts the collegiality that previously existed between academic medical centers and community hospitals.
Hospital librarians are concerned that hospitals are eliminating their librarians and still participate in DOCLINE by contracting with publishing companies. DOCLINE policies are listed on the NLM website, but the Focus Group participants were unclear about who is enforcing the policies.
In addition to DOCLINE concerns, participants shared stories about how changes in PubMed and MyNCBI are having a big impact on the workflow of hospital librarians. They miss the easy methods of saving their searches. When asked about ideas for future training, the Focus Group participants suggested disaster preparation. They specified needing to know more about how to prepare for cyber-attacks. The University of Vermont experienced a major cyber-attack at the end of 2020. For more information, this story was published in Becker’s Hospital Review.