Role of Medical/Health Librarians in Promoting the Use of Medical Library Resources and Services

Role of Medical/Health Librarians in Promoting the Use of Medical Library Resources and Services

Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8942-7.ch010
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Doctors and other health workers are in constant need of quality and timely information. To this end, medical/health librarians have critical roles to play. Their major duty is to advance access to available health information resources and services. However, reports abound of low library usage due to inadequate awareness of the availability of most of the information sources and services in medical libraries. Considering the need for the effective delivery of medical library services, the aim of this chapter was to highlight new roles and duties of medical/health librarians. It also discussed some of the skills that are needed by medical/health librarians. The chapter concludes that medical/health librarians must be engaged in newer roles and duties to be able to provide value-added services that will promote awareness and improve medical library use.
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Medical Library Use In Nigeria

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (2021), medical libraries are designed to support all categories of users in finding health and scientific information to enhance, and advance health care services. For a long time in Nigeria, medical libraries were not an essential part of medical education facilities, mainly because the medical schools did not think there was a need for them. Until it became a mandatory requirement for accreditation in medical schools. Consequently, medical libraries became a common sight in most tertiary health facilities across the county (Sulemani, Afarikumah, Aggrey, Ajuwon & Diallo, 2015).

The Medical Library Association (2020), defined medical and health librarians are a group of information professionals, with special knowledge in quality health information resources. They are also referred to health information professionals and medical information specialists, who acquire, process and enable users’ access needed information that can advance patient care, provide support for medical education, and medical research. They are a group of librarians conversant with delivering health related information materials that can “add value” to information products and services in medical libraries.

In the opinion of Gathoni and Ajuwon (2020), medical and health information professionals are responsible for promoting health information access that can bring about improved health care in Africa. They however noted that, health information professionals are yet to be successful in this duty due to several reasons such as; the high cost of resources, reliable internet connectivity, inadequate skills on the part of professionals. In the same vein, Adetola (2018), acknowledged that values can be added when medical/health librarians provide support in the form of developing relevant content, library use instructions, information seeking services, and reference assistance services so that users find it easier to needed information.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Awareness: Knowledge of the existence of an information resource or service.

Roles of Medical/Health Librarians: Functions expected of a medical/health librarian.

Medical/Health Librarians: A group of information professionals working in medical, hospital or clinical environments.

Medical Library Services: A variety of assistance offered by medical libraries to meet the information needs of their users.

Training Needs: Continuous education requirements for medical/health librarians.

Library Use: The extent to which the medical library is patronized.

Duties of Medical/Health Librarians: Work expected of a medical/health librarian.

Information Resources: Information bearing materials available in the library and used to meet the information needs of users.

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