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SEA Currents November 14th, 2019
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NMLM Feature: Open House at SRHS Health Sciences Library

Posted by on November 6th, 2019 Posted in: All Posts


Tonia Harris, Manager of Library Services, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Health Sciences Library

The Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Health Sciences Library, opened in 1961, is located on the system’s main campus and has moved two times in that time span. In our last location, we lost half the library space to build an auditorium next door. We moved to our current location in April 2019 to a space less than half the size we moved from. With the move to the new space, the entire print journal collection was recycled along with about half the book collection. While it is smaller, the new library space has more windows, bright LED lighting, vinyl tile flooring and is centrally located in the main building of the hospital. We were able to keep the same amount of computers which also includes an internet-only kiosk computer. I am the librarian and the only staff for this library serving this small, multi-hospital system.

To garner awareness and publicity along with celebrating National Medical Library Month, the SRHS Health Sciences Library held a four hour Open House Drop-In on October 17, 2019, which is also Get to Know Your Customer Day.  After posting messages to MEDLIB-L and HLS-List looking for ideas, I incorporated several suggestions into the event. I purchased a small helium tank to use for balloons taped to cardstock fliers that were placed throughout the hospital the morning of the event. Chocolate chip cookies with napkins and a bowl of snack size chocolate candy were provided. To simplify procedures and circumvent utilizing hospital catering, drinks were not included. As a door prize to draw people in, I purchased three $10 Chick-Fil-A gift cards for a drawing to be held a week after the event. People who dropped by filled out a library related word-find puzzle game to be entered into the drawing. They were able to complete the form on the spot, drop it off later, send it by interoffice mail, fax it, or scan and email it by the deadline. I found a website online to make the game. I wanted the words to include the location, my name, names of resources offered, names of items located in the library, etc., to help people ‘remember’ the library, staff and services it provides. One of the library’s vendors who provides databases and point of care resources sent pens, mechanical pencils and post-it-notes as ‘freebie gifts’. A handout with a bullet point list of all library services was provided along with handouts for individual electronic resources. I downloaded various items from the MLA website such as bookmarks and posters. The hospital’s copy center printed these on cardstock. MedlinePlus bookmarks were also provided. Marketing for the event consisted of three email blasts containing the event announcement to various hospital email departments beginning a week before the event. The event announcement was also sent to every hospital department via interoffice mail. The hospital’s intranet page has a news and events section and the event announcement was added there. The hospital’s marketing department also emailed the event announcement globally a little over a week before the event. While specific stats weren’t kept and a sign-in sheet was not used, I estimate 50-75 people stopped by. These included physicians, residents, nurses, VP of Nursing for hospital system, allied health personnel and also a president from one of the hospitals in the system.

I have received positive feedback regarding the event including the word-find puzzle game. People seemed impressed with the space although it is smaller than the previous library space. This is the first time such an event has been held in almost 30 years. It is undetermined if National Medical Library Month will be celebrated annually in the future. Perhaps in 2021, I will have a 60th anniversary library reception during National Medical Library Month. However for this year, the new library space and its services were showcased, the open house drop-in was an overwhelming success. If you’re interested in reading MEDLIB-L and HLS-List responses to my postings about the open house, please click here.

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