Category Archives: Comment

New value and impact articles

We have added a number of value and impact related articles to our list of useful publications.

This includes: Brettle A, Maden M, and Payne C (2016) The impact of clinical librarian services on patients and health care organisations, Health Information & Libraries Journal, Early view, DOI: 10.1111/hir.12136

Key messages:
• Clinical librarians (CLs) provide a valuable service which impacts on direct patient care, improves quality and saves money within healthcare organisations.
• Each literature search provided by a clinical librarian contributes to multiple outcomes of importance to the healthcare organisation
• New roles for clinical librarians can involve providing information relating to business development, finance and legal issues
• Interrelated methods of evaluation illustrate the wide range of impacts and the nature of how these are made
• Future use of the tools provided will help build a significant and comprehensive international evidence base on the effectiveness and impact of health library services (The appendices include the full interview schedule and questionnaires).

It is essential to recognise that CLs can only make a contribution rather than a direct impact to many health care outcomes due to the many other factors involved in caring for patient. As demonstrating the direct impact of CL services on patient care is extremely difficult to prove, studies should determine if CLs make a contribution to patient care rather than a direct impact

The outcomes used to demonstrate impact within this study were carefully selected to be specific and reflect a wide range of organisational objectives. NHS priorities and objectives: decision making and evidence-based practice; patient-centred care and health outcomes; quality of care; service development; continuing professional development (CPD); efficiency, financial or risk management. The largest impacts were found in the areas of continuing professional development, decision-making and evidence-based practice.

All the recommended elements of a quality impact study, were incorporated including: independent researchers, anonymity of respondents, survey of whole sample, use of the CIT, sample of interviews, personalised request to complete survey and reminders as well as examining actual and future impacts. The questionnaire showed all the outcomes to which the information had contributed but provided no context or explanation. This approach is likely to be confirming what librarians already know about their practice, but at the same time, this method provides a means of categorising the evidence in ways that decision makers can understand. The interviews were successful in capturing impacts that were not immediately noticeable to the clinician, and the conversation as the interview progressed made the wider contribution apparent.

Other articles:
Barbrow S and Hartline M (2015) Process mapping as organizational assessment in academic libraries, Performance Measurement and Metrics. Performance Measurement and Metrics, 16(1), 34-47

Brooks SV and Bigelow S (2015) Preparing students for research: faculty/librarian collaboration in a pre-doctoral physical therapy research course. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 32: 332–338. doi: 10.1111/hir.12123

Bryant SL, Stewart D, Goswami L and Grant MJ (2015) Knowledge for Healthcare: the future of health librarianship. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 32: 163–167.

Butler K and Byrd J (January 2016) Research Consultation Assessment: Perceptions of Students and Librarians Journal of Academic Librarianship 42(1), 83–86

Halpin E, Rankin C, Chapman EL Walker C (Mar 2015) Measuring the value of public libraries in the digital age: What the power people need to knowfalse. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 47(1), 30-42.

Hájek P and Stejskal J (Mar 2015) Modelling public library value using the contingent valuation method: The case of the Municipal Library of Prague Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 47(1), 43-55,

Gaspar Pinto L (2014) Library performance continuum and the imperative of meta-evaluation, Performance Measurement and Metrics. 15(3), 86-98

Lessick S (2015) Enhancing library impact through technology, J Med Libr Assoc. 103(4), 222–231

Tewell TC (2015) Use of library services can be associated with a positive effect on first-year students’ GPA and retention, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 10(1)

Zaugg H (2015) Using a library impact map to assist strategic planning in academic libraries, Library Leadership and Management, 29(3)

(If you have trouble accessing any of the articles above, please contact me at


JEAHIL Journal issue – marketing and impact of medical libraries

The December issue of the Journal of European Association of Health Information and Libraries focused on marketing and impact – JEAHIL 2015 11(4)

It includes an article by me about creating meaningful value propositions for you and your libraries.

• Marketing and impact: it’s a challenge, but we can show we make a difference – M. Wake 5
• Revealing your value through meaningful messages – M. Dunne 6
• A logic model approach: understanding the impact of local Macmillan cancer information and support services in the UK – R. Carlyle 11
• “E-Day” in Bern: promoting e-resources through an all-day event – M.F. Schaffer, G. Bissels and F. Eberle 15
• The impact of the clinical librarian: a review T. Roper 19
• Impactful librarians: identifying opportunities to increase your impact – S. Kirtley 23
• Using library impact data to inform student marketing campaigns – G. Stone, A. Sharman and K. McGuinn 29


Value at IFLA 2015

Thanks to Louise Farragher for spotting the Krafty Librarian blogging about library value and impact at the IFLA conference in South Africa.

The post mentions Elliot Shore from ARL, who is asking some probing questions.
[For previous presentation by Shore (2013) see The role of the library in the transformative higher education environment: or fitting our measures to our goals. Presented at the 10th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services, University of York, 22-25 July, 2013.]

And the Becker Medical Library is suggested as a useful example of progressive thinking in this area.

We look forward to hearing more from the conference and hopefully seeing all the IFLA presentations online.

CILIP conference presentations now available

PDF versions of presentations at CILIP’s annual conference in Liverpool (2-3 July 2015) are now available. One theme was dedicated to value and impact.

Well known librarian researchers Sue Reynolds and Carolynn Rankin began the theme with a workshop going through the process of evaluating impact. Attendees were encouraged to use an example from their work or professional life to consider how they may demonstrate that it is having a positive impact. The workshop was based on the 2014 international standard (ISO) on library impact, which has useful definitions and guidelines.

Another presentation that referenced the ISO standard was Jo Alcock’s talk about the potential of statistics to contribute to a picture of value. She briefly described some case studies from the academic sector where university libraries have utilised statistics to good effect.

One presentation of particular interest to health librarians was that of Suzanne Wilson from NHS Scotland, Demonstrating impact of applying knowledge to practice in NHSScotland. She spoke about their evaluation tool, giving the example of assessing the impact of a clinical enquiry service.

David Lankes keynote presentation – An Action Plan for World Domination Through Librarianship is worth viewing.

My own presentation emphasised, once again, that we should consider how we can communicate our worth more effectively by understanding what our communities value and what we offer that is special and unique.

I echoed some of the recurrent themes that emerged during the conference including the need to align our work with that of our funding institutions so we can demonstrate our direct contributions to their aims and objectives. We also need to communicate this value in a language and way that they will appreciate.


Upcoming CILIP impact toolkit

The Impact Toolkit will be launched on 3rd July at the CILIP Conference, 2 and 3 July in Liverpool, the Impact Toolkit fits with one of the four conference themes; Demonstrating Value.

The Impact Toolkit will be available to members on CILIP’s Virtual Learning Environment. It will provide practical resources, information and support so members can clearly and effectively demonstrate their value as professionals – and the value of the services they manage and provide – to key decision makers and stakeholders.

There are two strands in the toolkit. Understanding value will cover planning and scoping, stakeholder analysis, and impact and evidence. The communicating value section will include communications, relationships and influence, and advocacy.

The toolkit contains a mixture of resources including excerpts from Facet publications, videos, websites and discussion forums and activities to help members reflect and apply the techniques discussed.

I was fortunate to be asked to be an external advisor on the toolkit so look forward to its release.

DBS seminar keynote: broken library communications and how to fix it.

I attended the 2nd DBS library annual seminar on Friday, 12 June 2015. There were lots of interesting speakers, but I’d just like to give a flavour of the keynote, given by Andy Priestner from Cambridge University – Broken library communications and how to fix it. As some of you will know, I have an interest in library value measurement, but also how we communicate this value.

As Andy says, we now have more opportunities to communicate with users. Go where our users are – where they are happy to be. Present on all channels – tweet, SlideShare, Pinterest etc., as different platforms reach different audiences, and it shows our expertise and relevance.
Communication style must be tailored to each platform, for example:
• Twitter – short, attention grabbing and conversational (A call to action can be as simple as asking readers to retweet)
• Facebook – offers more space – can be visual
• Blog – may be more discursive
• Email – use sparingly, one message with a maximum of 3-4 lines

All of these need engaging content, written in language suitable for your various audiences. Don’t overwhelm people by telling them everything – be concise. Attach eye-catching images where possible, as we process images much quicker than text. The internet culture tends to be more relaxed, so where you can and where it’s appropriate, use humour.

Be careful not to focus solely on detail of a product or service. The key message should be on the benefits that those who use it will achieve.

One thing we can all do is consider your communication strategy. If you work in a team you will need to include everyone in it’s development and implementation. Get everyone’s opinion and agreement on the types of messages you want to deliver.

I agree with Andy that many others don’t understand our value and the complexity of what we do. We need to keep pushing the message about our value.