New guidance for Library Assistants on Providing Health Information to Patients and the Public

The Patient and Public Information Task & Finish Groups have published some new Guidance for library assistants

This guidance has been produced to increase the confidence of  library assistants and support them to provide information to patients and the public.

It includes answers to a number of frequently asked questions such as:

  • What should I do if the patient is upset?
  • Can patients use our computers?
  • Can I photocopy articles for a patient or member of the public?

This guidance should be used in conjunction with the main PPI guidance, particularly the advice on Dealing with enquiries . Library Managers are encouraged to use it as a staff development and training resource, rather than as a standalone document. A few ideas for incorporating the guidance into team development activities:

  • Create role playing scenarios
  • Ask staff to work through local answers to some of the FAQs e.g. identify local public library service webpage
  • Discuss at team meetings or as part of an Away Day

Comments to:

Natasha Howard
Library Manager, Aubrey Keep Library


A new guide to using NHS Choices

Developed by Health Librarians, this guide is for staff and the public to use to find the wide range of health information freely available on NHS Choices. Using screenshots and short descriptions, the guide can be used as a teaching tool or a standalone leaflet.

We piloted the guide with NHS and public library staff and the feedback was very positive and here are some comments:

  • “This works really well as a basic guide to navigating the main functions of NHS Choices.”
  • “It’s clear, informative & up-to-date”
  • “Simple no nonsense approach”
  • “I discovered things on there that I’d forgotten / possibly didn’t know were there”
  • “A really easy to understand and useful guide and it will be very helpful to all frontline staff”

When asked “How would you use it?” some ideas were:

  • Have it available in the library & other venues across the Trust
  • Put it on the Trust website
  • Use as a hand-out in teaching situations
  • Give it to the wards and perhaps offer to GP practices
  • To point out services to members of the public who enquire with us
  • It will be useful for providing the public / patients with more detailed information about the site in an easy to use format.
  • As part of training in “finding evidence” and as a library hand-out, or attachment to an email when drawing attention to the site

You can find the Guide to NHS Choices alongside other training resources.

NHS Choices will be changing its content in the future so we aim to review this leaflet every 6 months.

Comments to:

Copyright Guidance – An Update

Recently we told you about the help that was available for copyright queries both by asking us directly ( and on the newly updated copyright guidance and FAQ pages (

Since then there have been two important updates.

Firstly, the CLA have updated their website producing a new page dedicated to the CLA Licence Plus for the NHS, reflecting the recent addition of the Royal Society of Medicine as a supplier of Copyright Fee Paid articles and including an integrated Permissions Checker. The new page is available at As before, the ‘Public Sector’ option should be chosen when checking permissions. The information available at has been updated to reflect this, adding a new guide clarifying when to order Copyright Fee Paid articles.

Secondly, a new page has been added to the guidance specifically to address copyright in NHS-Higher Education crossover situations. This follows the webinars presented on this subject by the CLA at the end of last year. The new page can be found at

Finally, remember if you have any copyright queries please email us at :