MLA's Librarian Survival Kit
Hints for Using the Kit
Know Your Organization
Be selective when using these materials.
The kit should be used as an outline, with the understanding that every
situation is different. Based upon knowledge of your hospital's leaders,
adapt your actions to those individuals and their value
systems. Pick and choose what is best for your situation.
Creativity + Persistence + Efficiency = Effectiveness!
Look at the big picture of the organization.
What is important to the leaders now and in the long term? Are
you jeopardized by hospital administrators only concerned with
the bottom line; or merely by those uneducated about what a real
librarian does? No matter what the reason, address the priorities
of the organization as a whole, instead of attending only to the
needs of the library. Do not use your jargon; use their jargon.
You are selling them a productyourself.
Show that you meet the needs and further the goals of the organization.
Recognize local and national trends.
Don't let yourself be surprised by trends that are influencing
administrative decision-making everywhere. Anticipate trends and
their impact on you. Accept changes in the field and change with
them. Remember, those leading the pack don't get eaten; predators
only catch those lagging behind.
Follow up knowledge with action.
Identify and cultivate relationships with the opinion leaders
in your hospital. Join hospital-wide committees, especially the
information management team. The more people know of you, the
more leverage you have. Be a leader not only in the information
system of your hospital, but in the hospital as a whole.
Know Your Clients
Identify your clients.
Keep them well-informed about new services and information. Do
not overlook the administration's needs. Be client-oriented.
Attract clients who have power.
Always stay one step ahead of the needs of top-level administrators
and physicians. Form a special communications bridge with them
through quick newsletters or e-mail to distribute information
tidbits they might find useful. Join the same committees they
Identify your most valuable services by conducting
formal and informal needs assessments on a regular basis. Constantly
ask what your clients want. As their positions and duties change,
so will their needs. Formal surveys are required if you are being
accredited by JCAHO, but don't overlook casual conversation with
coworkers outside the library, which often reveals additional
information about the services they need.
Concentrate on providing the most valuable services
visibly and well.
It doesn't matter what services you provide if the right people
do not know of them. Solicit! Regularly contact people who do
not currently use your library and ask them about their information
needs. Even if they don't use your services, you will be identified
as the information expert.
Know How to Manage and Market Your Services
Know exactly what your library does for its customers.
Be able to quantify it in terms of costs and benefits that administrative
or financial decision makers understand. For example, meaningful
measures such as "physician use per patient" can greatly
further justification of your overhead costs. Keep good records
of instances in which your services "saved a life" or
cut the cost of treatment, and distribute this information to
key people on a regular basis. Saving the hospital money shows
Lead other parts of the hospital to your library.
Make certain library orientation is part of new employee training
for all staff, including physicians, nurses, and administrators.
Expand your role in the education department. Offer a wide selection
of continuing education courses, such as end-user, computer, and
Lead the library to other parts of the hospital.
As suggested earlier, join information management committees.
This will help you know where all the information resources are
located in the institution (medical records, hospital performance
ratings, etc.) Thus, even though you are not in charge of every
type of information, you can easily help clients find what they
need. Volunteer at hospital-wide events. Attempt to visit every
department on a regular basiswhether it be to deliver documents
personally or just to say "hello" to people during a
break. Encourage every employee to do the same.
Buy the hospital accountants chocolate!
(Well, it worked for one task force member!!)
Communicate with MLA Leaders
Keep in touch with MLA leadership.
Give them data so they know what's going on out in the field and
can develop programs that help members. Don't whisper or complain
to each other; tell people in the association who can make a difference.
Network within MLA and be involved with other types of library
Get involved in MLA!
Make contributions that you know will help you and others. Volunteer to be
involved at whatever level suits your personality: chapter,
section, or national.
Attend committee and board meetings (at all levels), even if you're not an
officer or committee chair. Listen, observe, and contribute.