Session: Building Capacity for Sustainable Innovation

I attended this morning session on Monday, May 19. Each talk was so different that it’s difficult to summarize it in one or two paragraphs. The overarching message from these presenters: Libraries and librarians must approach challenges with creativity and courage.

Building Bridges: Sustaining Innovative Services to Support Internal Efficiencies in a Collaborative Partnership

Presented by Stevo Roksandic, Library Director, Mount Carmel Health System, Columbus, Ohio

Stevo presented on the collaborative partnership between the health sciences librarians within the Trinity Health system. Stevo launched the OHIOWA program where the health sciences librarians in Ohio would virtually support their partner librarians and healthcare professionals in Iowa (hence the name, O-H-I-O-W-A). Initially librarians were concerned this partnership would lead to lay-offs but Stevo was able to demonstrate that the additional support would actually enable librarians to provide more consistent service across the two systems.

Stevo shared this fun tip: OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE – it all depends on how you see it! (Opportunity is now here? Opportunity is nowhere?)

Welcome to the Family! Enjoying Massive Organizational Change

Presented by Heidi M. Nickisch Duggan, Deputy Director, Galter Health Sciences Library, Chicago, Illinois

Northwestern University, including the Galter Health Sciences Library, underwent a tremendous amount of change in leadership. This included changing the library reporting structure and making the library a division of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS). Heidi acknowledged that this new partnership has been extremely supportive and productive. In addition to the dean of NUCATS being a library champion, Heidi found that the library shared with NUCATS a vocabulary and a similar mission to collect and disseminate knowledge and information which facilitates communication and strengthens their collaboration.

Galter’s experience is an excellent example of what can be achieved when novel relationships are formed through shared vision and goals. By speaking the same language the library created a new partnership with NUCATS and, together, advanced the institutional mission.

Building the Future: Rejecting, Rethinking, Redoing, and Rejuvenating Medical Librarianship

Presented by Martha Meacham, Library Fellow, Lamar Soutter Library, Worcester, MA

Martha Meacham and Molly Higgins are the inaugural fellows at the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The fellowship was developed in the face of some harsh facts: budget cuts, declining statistics, rising costs, and “traditional” library work rapidly changing. Library leadership chose to develop an entirely professional staff – support and technical staff were laid off and recent graduates and new professionals would be the focus for new hires. The fellowship aimed to give new graduates necessary work experience and prepare them for a career in academic health sciences libraries. It spans two years, rotates through all areas of the library, and has a research component as well. Martha and Molly have been involved with the development of this program – they meet regularly with mentors and supervisors, work with an evaluation consultant to evaluate the program, and the fellows will be surveyed over five years after completion of the program to mark their progress.

How do we keep young professionals engaged? How do we support them and encourage them to think creatively about the future of health sciences librarianship? Positions like this give young professionals a chance to gain exposure to different areas of the field and really apply their skills where they are best suited.

Balanced Scorecard in Libraries: Libraries Can’t Effectively Change What They Can’t Measure

Presented by Dean Hendrix, Assistant Director, University Libraries, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York

The balance scorecard is a strategic planning execution tool. It allows for users to quantitatively track their progress towards goals and maintains accountability throughout. Dean Hendrix spoke about the benefits of using this approach at his institution. Dean found that staff really own the metrics and it’s difficult to hide from the cold, hard truth of numbers.

What would Dean have done differently? He would have opted to educate staff about the Balanced Scorecard in smaller groups with a more carefully crafted message. Instead they discussed in in “town hall” like forums which, he believes, was not very effective.

Session sponsored by the Leadership and Management Section, Co-sponsored by the Hospital Libraries Section, Medical Library Education Section, and New Members SIG