The UOC Library at the service of students
From 12 to 16 June, the twelfth International Congress of Medical Librarianship (ICML) was held in Dublin (Ireland). Through a series of meetings and workshops, the congress explored themes related to librarians specializing in health sciences, a discipline which, as this year’s title implies, is integrating, inspiring and innovative in its diversity (“Diversity in Practice: integrating, inspiring and innovative”). It was attended by Àgueda Mercadal, a librarian in Health Sciences at the UOC Library, who defined the event as “a very enriching experience providing a clear and comprehensive overview of the experiences of different medical libraries around the world".
Seven guidelines for providing a service to students
- The usefulness of digital tools, such as social media, in offering greater visibility to library services and resources and reaching out to students and teaching staff.
- Up-to-date librarians, aware of the current issues and trends in their subject area. It is important to attend national and international workshops and congresses like the ICML, in order to learn about the successes of other organizations; to subscribe to journals, organize talks and meetings with the teaching staff; and above all to review all the day-to-day tasks in order to improve and learn.
- Ensure the digital literacy of users. The librarian has to explain where the information is and how to access it: strategies for searching and retrieval of documents, evaluation and ethical use of resources, how to use data, etc. This is how to increase the efficiency of the profession.
- The "embedded librarian" as a "knowledge mobiliser". In other words, a role that integrates itself in other contexts, aligning its objectives with those of the academic community and making contributions from a different, highly-valued and beneficial professional sphere. For example, the librarian could join the team of various organizations, such as academic and scientific communities, and participate in the development of the syllabus or the research.Another possibility would be to increase the commitment of the student towards the library, by integrating the librarian within the teaching activity in the classroom. This is done at the University of Otago which, during the first year, teaches a course on the university library, with videos and tutorials, so that the students can learn how to use tools like Scopus or MedlinePlus. In short, providing the tools so that users can find what they are looking for with ease.
- Actively listening to library users. To measure the quality of the services and resources, satisfaction questionnaires need to be used, for example after a training course is given. The opinions collected are very important in order to optimize the service.
- Open access is essential in the world of information and the librarian plays an important role. There must, however, be clear guidelines in order to be able to publish in open access.
- The importance of working/networking groups for planning improvement proposals and finding the right moment to implement them.
Àgueda Mercadal has a Diploma in Library and Information Science (UB) and a Degree in Information Science (UB). She is currently a subject librarian in Health Sciences and provides support to faculty members of these courses in selecting the learning resources for their subjects.