Trends in hospital librarianship and hospital library services: 1989 to 2006.

Thibodeau, Patricia L and Funk, Carla J Trends in hospital librarianship and hospital library services: 1989 to 2006. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 2009, vol. 97, n. 4, pp. 273-9. [Journal article (Unpaginated)]


Download (188kB) | Preview

English abstract

OBJECTIVE: The research studied the status of hospital librarians and library services to better inform the Medical Library Association's advocacy activities. METHODS: The Vital Pathways Survey Subcommittee of the Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians distributed a web-based survey to hospital librarians and academic health sciences library directors. The survey results were compared to data collected in a 1989 survey of hospital libraries by the American Hospital Association in order to identify any trends in hospital libraries, roles of librarians, and library services. A web-based hospital library report form based on the survey questions was also developed to more quickly identify changes in the status of hospital libraries on an ongoing basis. RESULTS: The greatest change in library services between 1989 and 2005/06 was in the area of access to information, with 40% more of the respondents providing access to commercial online services, 100% more providing access to Internet resources, and 28% more providing training in database searching and use of information resources. Twenty-nine percent (n = 587) of the 2005/06 respondents reported a decrease in staff over the last 5 years. CONCLUSIONS: Survey data support reported trends of consolidation of hospitals and hospital libraries and additions of new services. These services have likely required librarians to acquire new skills. It is hoped that future surveys will be undertaken to continue to study these trends.

Item type: Journal article (Unpaginated)
Keywords: Advisory Committees Libraries, Hospital/manpower Libraries, Hospital/trends* Library Associations Library Science/trends Library Services/trends*
Subjects: D. Libraries as physical collections. > DK. Health libraries, Medical libraries.
Depositing user: Antonella De Robbio
Date deposited: 27 Jun 2010
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:14


1. Holst R. Hospital libraries in perspective. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1991 Jan;79(1):1–9. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

2. Doe J, Marshall M.L. Handbook of medical library practice. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: American Library Association; 1956. p. 5.

3. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. Standards for hospital accreditation. Chicago, IL: The Commission; 1953.

4. Wolfgram P.A. Hospital libraries in the United States: historical antecedents. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1985 Jan;73(1):32–8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

5. Brodman E. The delivery of medical information in the 1970s. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1971 Oct;59(4):579–84. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

6. White H.S. Library management in the tight budget seventies: problems, challenges, and opportunities. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1977 Jan;65(1):6–12. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

7. Miller J.D. Health sciences libraries in hospitals. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1972 Apr;60(2 suppl):S19–28.

8. Crawford S. Health science libraries in the United States: III. hospital health science libraries, 1969–1979. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1983 Jan;71(1):30–6. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

9. Messerle J. Health sciences libraries: strategies in an era of changing economics. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1987 Jan;75(1):27–33. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

10. Gilbert C.M. Challenges in health care information transfer: the role of hospital libraries [comment and opinion]. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1991 Oct;79(4):405–8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

11. Stevens S.R. Impact of changing health care economics on Michigan hospital libraries: report of a survey. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1990 Apr;78(2):140–5. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

12. Glitz B, Lovas I, Flack V. The changing status of hospital libraries 1984 to 1989: characteristics and services in Region 7 of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1992 Apr;80(2):179–84. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

13. Ad hoc committee addresses hospital library promotion. MLA News. 1989 Mar;213:18.

14. Survey confirms major changes in hospital libraries. MLA News. 1989 Aug;217:8.

15. Foster E.C, Wakeley P.J. Survey of health sciences libraries in hospitals 1989: executive summary. Chicago, IL: American Hospital Association; 1991.

16. Wakeley P.J, Foster E.C. A survey of health sciences libraries in hospitals: implications for the 1990s. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1993 Apr;81(2):123–8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

17. Glitz B, Flack V, Lovas I.M, Newell P. Hospital library service and the changes in national standards. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1998 Jan;86(1):77–87. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

18. Wolf D.G, Chastain-Warheit C.C, Easterby-Gannett S, Chayes M.C, Long B.A. Hospital librarianship in the United States: at the crossroads. J Med Libr Assoc. 2002 Jan;90(1):38–48. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

19. Hammond P.A. Hospital libraries are an economically sound investment [hospital librarianship column]. MLA News. 2001 Nov/Dec;341:1, 10.

20. Thibodeau P.L. Hospital libraries: status of closings [report prepared for MLA Board of Directors] Chicago, IL: Medical Library Association; 2004.

21. American Hospital Association. Resource center: fast facts from AHA hospital statistics [Internet] The Association; 14 Jun 2006. [cited 19 Jun 2009]. <>.

22. Directory of hospital personnel: U.S. hospitals and key decision makers. 2006 ed. Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing; 2006.

23. National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Listing of hospital library members [list provided to the authors by Network staff] The Network; 2005.

24. Thibodeau P.L. Task Force on the Status of Hospital Librarians. Memo to: MLA Board of Directors from the Ad Hoc Group to Develop Charge for Status of Hospital Librarians. 23 Aug 2004

25. Medical Library Association. Vital Pathways: The hospital libraries project final report and recommendations [Internet] The Association; 31 Dec 2008. [cited 9 Mar 2009] <>.

26. Medical Library Association. Change in status of a US hospital library [Internet] The Association; 3 Dec 2008. [cited 9 Mar 2009]. <>.

27. American National Standards Institute. American national standard for library and information sciences and related publishing practices: library statistics. ANSI Z39.7-1983. New York, NY: The Institute; 1983. p. 24.

28. American National Standards Institute. American national standard for information services and use: metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers: data dictionary, ANSI/NISO Z39. draft 2001. incorporated into 2004 edition [Internet] The Institute; [cited Sep 2005]. <>.


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item