Who you are and your specific audience categorically drive what content you create and how you choose to share it. Tricia Ulmer, Director of the Health Sciences Libraries for Geisinger Health said,
Geisinger Health Sciences Libraries serve the information and educational needs of nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 400 residents and fellows, 1,000 physician assistants and certified nurse practitioners, 6,000 nurses based at 12 hospital campuses, two research centers, 50 community practice outpatient clinics of medicine serving more than three million residents in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania and beyond.
That's a tall order for any library and it comes with particular needs since 99.9% of the Geisinger Health Sciences Libraries' collection is digital. When we asked Tricia how she found her way to Springshare, she said,
Shameless pleading with my then Director. As the then Electronic Systems Management Librarian, I was beyond frustrated with the extreme limitations I had with what was the organization's only option to host and maintain a website. We were looking for a solution that empowered us to have a modern easy to maintain library website.
I was pleasantly shocked when our IT department approved what was then and still is the only department in the health system that uses an external, cloud-based solution that is not the organizational solution.
And, while they face many of the same challenges other libraries around the world currently have, like tight budgets and staffing issues, which lead to frustration with what they're ultimately able to do with their Springshare tools, Tricia recognizes that,
The organization has long been innovative and seeks to push the boundaries of health care. In our own small but mighty way the team, with our adoption of LibGuides, set us on the path to push the boundaries of access and service delivery in the history of Geisinger’s libraries.
Supporting the information needs of clinicians who save lives, improve patient care, are researching better ways to heal patients, is about as real as it gets. If someone wants to know they are making an immediate difference with their library/information services... medical libraries are the place to be.
Having established criteria is the best way to find what you want. Tricia knew the library needed to have a solution to manage their website that was flexible -- but equally critical for her was the fact that it had to be user-friendly. What she had available to her was neither. So rather than struggling to work with just a few design templates, the team found and chose LibGuides CMS from Springshare. Now they have what they want and need, "...a dynamic, mobile responsive site."
We were thrilled to have LibGuides ease of use and freedom to create the virtual front door of our digital library as we needed.
Tricia recounts the fact that they had hospital mergers "...happening at a rapid pace." She said,
With Springshare we were able to ease our newly acquired hospital’s medical libraries in to merging of digital collections and maintain their specific user web needs.
LibGuides are designed to allow creators to build guides that include not just text, but to share books from the catalog, add RSS feeds, embed videos from streaming websites, create links, add images, start a blog and more. With LibGuides CMS, it's possible to have discussion boards, create groups and, like the Geisinger Health system, lock the site down with IP address restriction and password protection so that it's not accessible to the general public. With all those possibilities, it's important to identify your main objectives. Tricia said,
Our goal was and still is to “minimize clicks to content.” Our front page is designed with frequently used clinical research tools, e-book/e-journal search widgets and service request forms. I consider that we’ve done our jobs if users don’t need to go beyond our front page to access our resources.
For each medical specialty, the Geisinger Library team built what they call specialty guides, which are promoted as the individual library homepages for the specialties themselves. Tricia says these guides contain "their core frequently used e-journals, e-books and databases of interest. We promote them as “you pick the content that you want on the page and we do the work." The groups can further customize their mini library homepage guides, if they like. The Emergency Medicine team has worked on theirs to such a degree that it is being "...fully utilized as their required reading residency curriculum," Tricia said.
Springshare tools are easily integrated and designed to work together to help serve your patrons and staff. The Geisinger Libraries use a number of Springshare tools including the LibAnswers Platform. Tricia said,
We used another virtual reference solution. It did not meet our needs. LibAnswers gave us the tools and flexibility we needed. We can have librarians at different locations triage reference questions, collaborate and assist each other as needed. We started using LibChat in July. It’s been popular.
They have an additional queue that they use for internal purposes to help with the hospital mergers.
Our big data tool, LibInsight, is more than just a way to gather all the library data into one place. It allows teams to be able to look for correlations, examine figures year over year, measure growth and get the truth about downturns. It's actionable data. When asked about her hopes for their LibInsight system, Tricia said,
Our previous director utilized another vendor’s solution to organize, auto download counter reports from our large number of content publishers and providers. My vision is to centralize all library service metrics.
They have plans to look into the Room Booking feature in the coming months. The Geisinger library team also hopes to dive deeper with LibWizard Lite and to work on ways to integrate their Springshare tools this year. She says it's all part of what she's calling their "2.0 phase." When the team has a vision for the future, it's all very exciting.
While the first Springshare clients were Academic libraries and Public libraries, more and more Special libraries are joining in on the fun and benefiting from the features in our solutions. Tricia said, "Because we are a special library and organizationally diffuse locations we aren’t using these tools in the way public/academic libraries are. Not bad or less than just different." It's these differences Springshare is thrilled to learn about and share.
Our Springshare tools have been and will continue to be a game changer. We get so much bang for our buck with Springshare: In terms of library management, service delivery, patron expectations of what a library website should be, patron expectations of multiple options to seek help from staff, etc.
Looks like we share many of the same priorities as the Geisinger Health Sciences Libraries. We're ecstatic to hear Tricia say that, "The team/training/doc’s were fabulous. The most painless implementation I’ve had." Considering the fact that they had to face the demands of numerous mergers and the incorporating of the new Librarians from each hospital, it's an excellent piece of feedback. Tricia has an incredible leader's forward thinking approach -- so any new challenges that come along ...will have her and her librarians to face. They have their Mission Statement right on their LibGuides CMS home page. It says in bold letters,
Right Info, Right Time, @ Your Fingertips
They're committed to this statement and share it, perhaps as a reminder to themselves about the goal. These are medical libraries. Imagine the stakes. When asked if using Springshare tools changed anything within the library, she said,
We have room to grow with your tools as we continue to grow and develop.
Now, that -- sounds like the fulfillment of a goal of ours. To design a suite of products that's there for you -- as you grow.