A Question of Degrees: Collecting in Support of the Allied Health Professions

A Question of Degrees: Collecting in Support of the Allied Health Professions

Kathryn L. Zybeck (Methodist University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1897-8.ch009
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Librarians responsible for allied health or health sciences materials collect and maintain resources, such as print and electronic books and journals, non-book materials, such as anatomical models and flashcards, citation and full-text databases, and point-of-care resources. To simplify the process, there are selection aids for all stages of collecting as well as methods of assessing a collection’s strengths and weaknesses. Librarians who are involved in the collection development process will find support from professional organizations that provide opportunities for further development of skills and knowledge, venues for presenting, and avenues for members’ to share advice and expertise. This chapter will provide guidance for the librarian new to collecting in the health sciences on each step of the process and point to best practices to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
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Most academic libraries will need to collect medical materials, if only at a very basic level. The basic collections may support pre-professional programs such as pre-med, pre-physician assistant, or pre-physical therapy. Students in these programs are often required to write papers to reflect their future careers while they take such classes as microbiology, developmental biology, or anatomy and physiology. These patrons will want books, either print titles or e-books; journals, preferably with electronic access; databases; and anatomy resources. Health science collections are also used to support students as they move from the pre-professional to professional degrees. Professional collections will need a more robust collection of materials ranging from the same materials used by undergraduates to mobile-friendly applications and point-of-care tools users can deploy while on clinical rotations.

No matter the size or focus of the collection, all libraries involved in collecting medical materials will have some of the same considerations and follow similar processes. Gathering information about classes, programs, students, and faculty will help with all collection decisions. It is extremely important for librarians with collection responsibilities to be available and to listen to patrons using the collection so that they feel comfortable expressing their needs and sharing any gaps they observe in the collection. Creating a traditional collection development plan may not be appropriate for all libraries, but the process of writing some kind of guidelines will aid in conceptualizing the current state of the collection and its future directions.

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