18th LIASA Annual Conference: Abstracts: The engaged and embedded librarian: creating a healthy future with UKZN students and academics based at KwaZulu-Natal hospitals

The engaged and embedded librarian: creating a healthy future with UKZN students and academics based at the KwaZulu-Natal hospitals

Praba Naidoo, Eric Mchunu

Embedded librarianship is a term that is characterised by placing a librarian outside of the traditional library and into a new “on-site” setting or environment. Hence, the librarian becomes fully engaged in the students and academics research or projects in their respective workplace.

This paper reflects on a continuing study done on delivering health information services at the point of need, which are the hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Many of the hospitals are based in the rural areas, dispersed across the province of KwaZulu-Natal. A satellite office has been set up by UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine (SCM) at the Parkhomes at the Greys Hospital, Edendale Hospital and Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg; Umfolozi Hospital and Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni and Madadeni Hospital in Newcastle. The Parkhome for Stanger will be officially opened later this year.

The paper provides an overview on the services provided by the Embedded Librarian. This includes services such as databases and Endnote training, educational services, in-depth topical research and creating RSS feeds and alerts. The purpose of the Parkhomes was created in order to assist undergraduate and postgraduate medical students with professional services that would otherwise be offered at the Medical School in Durban. The embedded librarian has a workspace in each of the Parkhomes. The paper further provides an overview of the advantages of having an embedded librarian from the perspectives of the students and academics. The paper reflects on the engagement of the librarian and the undergraduate students during their clinical training at the various hospitals. The engaged librarian provides the undergraduate students with relevant resources and readings for their case studies and projects. The challenges faced by the embedded librarian, the academics and students are outlined and discussed in the paper. Recommendations are proposed for further collaborative developments and improvements between the embedded librarian and the UKZN students and academics.