by Jill Barr-Walker
Zuckerberg San Francisco General (ZSFG) Hospital Library
University of California, San Francisco
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Library, or ZSFG Library, received funding from the NNLM Pacific Southwest Region for an Outreach Mini-Award from June to November 2017. This funding provided support for library involvement in two events at our hospital: the Summerfest Health Fair and a National Medical Librarians Month outreach event. Our primary objective was to use these two events to increase patient, staff, and community awareness of the ZSFG Library in a way that encouraged communication, engagement, and active learning.
With funds from the NNLM award, we purchased a 50-inch TV monitor and stand, a spinnable wheel, and several gift certificates to use as prizes. We had been inspired by a raffle game observed at ZSFG Patient Safety Week in which participants spun a wheel and answered questions about patient safety. The goal of our raffle game was not to test participants’ existing knowledge; rather, we wanted to share information about the library using active learning techniques in a non-judgmental way and to show participants that ZSFG Library staff were approachable and knowledgeable.
Our clinical librarian (Jill Barr-Walker) and library assistant (Iesha Nevels) staffed a table together at each event. We set up our colorful upright spinning wheel, paper slips and a container for the raffle drawing, and a laptop and large monitor to demonstrate databases and NLM resources. When someone approached our table, we asked if they would like to enter our raffle. To enter, they would need to answer a question about ZSFG Library. First, participants spun the wheel which landed on a number; each number corresponded with a question on a list which was then asked. We asked staff things like “Name one point of care resource you can use via the library.” (e.g. DynaMed) and “Name one way the library can help your patients.” (e.g. MedlinePlus). Patients and members of the public were asked questions like “Is the library open to the public?” (Yes) and “Where can you find information about preventing diabetes & healthy recipes?” (e.g. MedlinePlus). These questions and answers led to more in-depth conversations, often resulting in demonstrations of online resources on the TV monitor. During our National Medical Librarians Month event, we also hosted a Makers Lab popup and a button-making station.
Our events were a huge success! At the Summerfest event (held on a Friday in the cafeteria at lunchtime), we received 120 raffle entries, including 68 staff members, 32 patients, and 20 members of the public. We had 42 meaningful interactions (defined as in-depth conversations about library resources), including 15 demonstrations using the TV monitor. Jill also received four requests for presentations at staff meetings, three requests for in-service trainings, and two requests for database searches. The National Medical Librarians Month event was held on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Across three days, there were 181 attendees and 119 raffle entries, including 99 staff members, 8 patients, and 12 members of the public. We had 125 meaningful interactions, including 39 demonstrations. There were five requests for presentations at staff meetings, one in-service training request, and one search request, all from unique and new-to-the-library groups such as interpreter services, clinical dietitians, and a reproductive health clinic for teens. When compared to the library’s participation at Summerfest in 2016, our attendee numbers rose by 240% and meaningful interactions increased by over 1300%! Several of our successes were not quantifiable but show the strength of the library’s relationship with our ZSFG community. For example, Jill received a card from a family & community medicine research team who wanted to celebrate National Medical Librarians Month, and Iesha, helping with a different event six months later, recognized buttons that she had given to staff at our events– many people still wear them on a daily basis!
These events would not have been possible without the purchases we made thanks to the NNLM PSR award. The spinning wheel attracted attention, attendees were excited to enter a raffle to win a prize, and the large monitor made demonstrating and discussing library resources a more user-friendly experience. We’ve found additional uses for these items, such as using the monitor for workshops, in-service trainings, and library staff meetings. And we are planning additional outreach events utilizing similar strategies to continue to raise awareness of our services by the hospital’s staff, patients, and local community. Thanks to NNLM PSR for helping us get the word out about ZSFG Library!
For more information about the events, feel free to contact Jill Barr-Walker. Also be on the lookout for a case study in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association!