2010-2011 Tours

The following tours were arranged in the 2010-2011 year:

Pier 21 Museum on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 @ 2pm

Pier 21

IWK Health Centre on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 @ 3:30pm

The Bedford Institute of Oceanography on Thursday, November 4th, 2010

The Chronicle Herald Library in the late fall of 2010


January 19, 2011
On Wednesday January 19th, SIM’s Special Libraries Association student chapter hosted a tour of two libraries of the Capital Health region located within the IWK Hospital: the Health Sciences Library and the Family Resources Library. Librarian and SIM alumna Darlene Chapman – Manager of Information Sources- began the afternoon with a tour of the IWK’s Health Science’s Library. This library is open to the public and primarily serves the staff and students of the Capital Health system. It is difficult to imagine that fifty years ago this was instead a specialized medical library open only to physicians; things have changed significantly. Darlene and her staff of 1.5 library assistants serve all Capital Health staff at all levels, as well as its affiliated students in a variety of ways:

+ assistance in all information needs, including literature searches and interlibrary loan, and document delivery
+ instruction in how to use the library’s in-house and online resources
+ assistance and training in using audio visual and Telehealth equipment & software
+ photographic services

Although the number of reference questions and interviews has decreased since the arrival of online access-anywhere resources, Darlene, who has witnessed the library changes for over twenty years, still regularly assists staff and students in literature searches. Darlene finds that staff is able to find resources online but often need help discerning which of the results from thousands can best fill their research needs. Darlene was enthusiastic about the many hats she wears inside and outside of her library responsibilities and expressed that this is a unique and exciting feature of working at a special library within a much larger organization. When not tending to information requests or ordering print and online resources for the entire Capital Heath system, Darlene and her staff train hospital staff to use audio/visual materials and the Capital Health’s Telehealth equipment and software. For example, Telehealth equipment can be used for remote diagnostics and treatments or training anesthesiologists to use new equipment software. And no, Darlene has no science degree under her belt; her undergraduate degree is in Canadian History! Oh, we librarians are brilliantly adaptable.

If you can imagine, on top of this portfolio Darlene finds time for hospital fundraising, staff recognition events, and other activities to help the IWK meet its ongoing goals. Darlene is also spearheading the conceptualization of an IWK archive to gather and centralize the organizational history of the IWK.

The second portion of our tour had our SLA group heading to the Family Resource Library where we met librarian and SIM alumna Andrea Kuttner. The primary function of this library is to provide consumer health information and recreational items (DVDs, games, and video games) to hospital patients and their families. The Family Resource Library is funded entirely by the hospital’s auxiliary fund-raising body. The library works in tandem with the IWK’s Family Care Centre -a relatively new centre to the IWK whose mandate is to focus on the care on the entire family as opposed to focusing on patients only, and the Child Life Centre -a centre to help normalize the hospital environment for children and young adults receiving long term care featuring a teen lounge, teaching instruction, recreation, music, and more. One of the biggest challenges Andrea faces daily is dealing with sensitive interactions; if a patient has not yet been diagnosed, they often look to the librarian as yet another health care practitioner who can dispense advice and information as a doctor or nurse would – a request she has to do her best to mitigate until a solid diagnosis is given.

Alongside her work serving the needs of patients and families, Andrea oversees and creates policies for the review process and publishing of pamphlets created by hospital staff. Until three years ago pamphlets (outlining post-operative self-care instructions, etc.) were published without any review process or archiving system and distributed to patients. Now, Andrea helps clinicians author, translate, and revise their pamphlet literature. She registers each publication, keeping an original copy, and posts them to the hospital website now with over 400 publications. She also sends pamphlets to print, and edits them for plain language and accuracy (she will sometimes consult a pharmacist to ensure medication dosage in the pamphlets is correct).

Needless to say, the SLA student group had a wonderfully informative afternoon at the IWK libraries thanks to two talented and enthusiastic LIS professionals. If you are interested in the work of health science librarians, both Darlene and Andrea have generously offered to answer questions by interested LIS students.
Tour summary written by Andrea Crabbe
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November 4, 2010
The Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) Library is one in a system of ten Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) libraries which finds itself in consortia with 5 other federal science departments. Lori Collins, Acting Chief of Library Services, lead the tour noting the library’s fantastic view of the Halifax harbour. The BIO library is open to the public though chiefly serving employees of the on-site marine science lab which specializes in fish stock management and ocean resources. Funded both by The Department of Fisheries and Natural Resources Canada, Lori expresses that it often feels like two libraries; four of the five of the staff positions at BIO work under DFO with the other under the department of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Two of these five positions are newly appointed virtual postings; the systems and e-resource librarians physically work out of BIO while serving the national system of libraries. Lori noted that there is potential for the creation of a virtual cataloguing position in the future.

E-resources are a large part of the BIO library collection with industry journals being the most frequently accessed resource, followed by government documents and grey literature (one of the largest collections in North America on oceanography). The SLA group also spoke with librarian Lois Loewen, recently appointed to the new e-resources position. Lois is responsible for negotiating with vendors to obtain national licenses to essential databases. Lois also maintains the library’s websites in French and English and the library’s intranet. Both Lori and Lois note that knowledge of any related field of science is not required working at a library such as BIO, but that it is often beneficial. Alongside the e-resource, government documents and grey literature collections, the BIO library houses a rare book collection, human resources collection, maps and hydrographic charts, and a microfiche collection which they are in the process of scanning to PDF. Recent developments have included compact shelving for some of their journal collection; Lori noted that it is important for floors to be engineered to hold their weight. Like most libraries, their significant print reference section is in line for significant weeding.

Lori and Lois were notably engaged and enthusiastic about their roles within the DFO library system. They were proud of their collections, and maintained friendly and person relationships with the library patrons. The SLA group was pleased to have been introduced to such a varied and specialized library environment by two seasoned and knowledgeable LIS professionals. For more information on the BIO library, visit their website at: Bedford Institute of Oceanography.
Tour summary written by Andrea Crabbe
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Chronicle Herald Library

Late fall, 2010
In late fall of 2010, two members of the Dalhousie SLA had the priviledge to visit the Chronicle-Herald library. During the tour, we were introduced to the three staff who work the library, who were more than willing to discuss methods for cataloguing and preserving newspaper clippings. We got to see their microfilm collection, and their impressive collection of historical items (printing presses, memorabilia, plates) kept from the newspaper’s move from downtown Halifax to its current location. The librarians treated us very well, and we each left with a giftbag of Chronicle-Herald items.
Written by Craig M.
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