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Standards for Hospital Libraries

Are you a hospital administrator who is evaluating the importance of your librarian and the library? Read the Medical Library Association's Standards for Hospital Libraries to learn how libraries and librarians support hospital accountability, raise the bottom line, and improve patient care and outcomes.

Synopsis of Standards

The “Standards for Hospital Libraries 2007” help hospital administrators, librarians, and accrediting bodies ensure that hospitals have the resources and services to effectively meet the hospital’s knowledge based information (KBI) needs. The standards were developed by the Hospital Libraries Section Standards Committee. 

Specific KBI requirements include that:

  • The library be a separate department with its own budget; and
  • KBI in the library should be directed by a qualified librarian who functions as a department head and is a member of MLA’s Academy of Health Information Professionals.

The standards:

  • Define the role of the medical librarian;
  • Define the links between KBI and other functions (e.g., patient care, patient education, performance improvement, and education);
  • Address the development and implementation of the KBI needs assessment and plan;
  • Address the promotion and publicity of KBI services;
  • Define physical space and staffing requirements; 
  • Outline the role, qualifications, and functions of a hospital library consultant; and
  • Ensure that IT resources are available to provide KBI resources and services.

Librarians and the library are essential if the hospital is to carry out its mission. Increasing use of the Internet, new information technologies, and communication by medical and allied health staff, patients, and the community require new strategies, strategic planning, allocation of adequate resources, and selection and evaluation of appropriate information resources and technologies.