What health librarians do

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 20 May 2017


See also Clinical librarianship | Digital liaison | EBooks | Health librarian competencies (draft) | Managing health libraries | Resource Description and Access (RDA) | Subject indexing

Health librarians assume several critical searching, teaching and leadership roles in university libraries, hospitals, academic health centres and clinical communities across Canada, the United States and in most of the English-speaking world. In Canada specifically, health librarians are responsible for a wide variety of library and information services to various medical and health clienteles. They purchase or subscribe to a range of important print and/or electronic resources (i.e., licensing databases and ebooks), part of an overall information services program within academic and medical institutions. Health librarians are responsible for performing digital liaison and outreach with users in order to support their research and frontline clinical work in various disciplines and professions. Health librarians monitor information trends such as data management, data visualization and social network analysis and teach courses and workshops about information technology. Although health professionals are increasingly self-sufficient in locating information, due to easy access to information on the web via search engines, and while health librarians have increased their information literacy efforts, there is still much teaching involved given the importance of systematic review searching. With so much research available on the web, some concern has been expressed that health librarians are not teaching the necessary skills needed by users to be self-reliant. Health librarians need to do some creative strategic planning to assess/address these deficits.

Health librarians provide instruction & educational support to scholars and clinicians by

  • Providing bibliographic instruction and teaching support for programs at the university, and medical school via face-to-face and online workshops and classes
  • Providing in-depth reference services to undergraduate medical students, graduate students and faculty, as well as clinicians in allied health
  • Building their presentation skills and expertise in learning theories and their application to helping users of health libraries

Health librarians are involved in ensuring access to high-quality, evidence-based information by

Health librarians are involved in collection organization and access by

Many health professionals prefer to read the print versions of their favourite texts...

Health librarians are involved in collection development & maintenance by


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