A visit to the St. Cloud Hospital library!

Angie and I are on a mission to visit all our CMLE member libraries – and we are making some great progress! This week we were invited to visit the library at the St. Cloud Hospital, by librarian Susan Schleper. We are sharing all these library visits with you, our members (and others!), to help everyone see the diversity of service we are providing across the CMLE system. And we want you to know what is going on in different libraries, so you feel invited to contact each other to talk about partnerships or sharing ideas for great service! Many of you are solo librarians, or working with others who are not doing the same kinds of things you do – but someone else in the system probably does it or wants to learn more about it. So: read, be awed by all we do here in the CMLE area, and reach out to each other! (And us! At Headquarters we like to partner too!!)

A nice place to sit, some popular fiction on the shelves – a great place to visit if you are in the hospital!

Most visitors to the hospital library are probably not as enthusiastic as we were to be there – but look at this location! If you are in the hospital as a patient or visitor – drop by to look at their materials. It can be very helpful to have a spot to just take a break; and the library can be that space. (I managed to keep my hands off their copy of the Hunger Games. But it was a close thing! Visiting libraries and NOT reading their books is really hard for a book-loving librarian!)

Reference desk

The Reference desk in this library hits all the important librarian requirements: printed information easily available for patrons to take, phone, computer search on medical databases is in progress, fire extinguisher (safety first!), holiday decorations, and of course – a cat! Much of the reference work that happens in this library is online, or can take place outside the library. But of course, we always need a place to provide in-person assistance to patrons, and to spread out our work. The design of this desk, with the curved edge, invites people to come closer, and to visit with the librarian. The desk is low enough that patrons in wheelchairs can easily conduct business here without any other accommodation – an important feature to consider in any library!

This library also works with the hospital’s Education and Training department. So they provide computers for medical personnel who need to complete Continuing Education requirements – something that happens in other libraries as well.They provide a lot of outreach, reaching out to patrons where they are to provide good information.

Hospital Librarian Susan Schleper

Susan showed us around the library – talking about the move from print material to digital by her patrons. As so much medical information is available online, it is convenient for medical staff to access the material from the collection while they are out on the floor or working with patients. This is happening in most libraries; and our job is to make information convenient and usable for out patrons! She talked to us about connecting with doctors and nurses to do some patron education in helping them find the best material.

And she is starting a really exciting project: an institutional repository! This will be on the Digital Commons site. “Digital Commons is the leading hosted institutional repository software for universities, colleges, law schools, and research centers. A Digital Commons repository showcases the breadth of scholarship produced at an institution – everything from faculty papers, student scholarship, and annual reports to open-access journals, conference proceedings, and monographs.”

Keeping all the materials, scholarly articles, posters from medical conferences, and more – a great mission for a library like this one! Are other CMLE libraries creating institutional repositories for your organization? We should get together and chat about best practices in copyright, digitization, and the other issues that come up with these!

hospital mosaic.jpg
Lovely artwork!

And of course, the library is a piece of the larger mission of the hospital. As you walk through the halls you can see the thought put into the experience of being there, with photos of administrators, plaques and articles discussing different aspects of the hospital’s proud history, and some beautiful art. This glass mosaic is lit from behind, and such a lovely piece that I am sure many people do exactly what I did: stop and just stare at it! Hospitals can so often be scary places, that it is great to see the humanizing elements that make up the hospital’s design.

If you want to come see the library, contact Susan! She can spend time helping you to understand all the things her hospital library does, and she is eager to connect with others across CMLE.

When are we coming to your library? Keep an eye on your email – we are very eager to come and admire all the work being done in libraries across the system!! The things you take for granted are new and exciting for your visitors – and we are prepared to be impressed!