A Health Information Study day took place in Leeds on the 10 July 2017 bringing to a close a very successful Health Information Week. This free event was open to all library knowledge service staff working in healthcare and public library services across England. Over 60 people attended and both sectors were well represented. Summing up the day David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North, said:
“Summing up a day as rich and complex as this has been is not an easy ask. However I’m always tempted to tell a story and this is a short one and provides us with a neat acronym at the end of it.
This weekend I was visiting my oldest friend for his 60th birthday party in Leicester. We met at junior school when we were seven years old. It was a brand new junior school, called Brocks Hill. They had a competition to design a badge for the new school and my friend’s sister won the competition. Brock is an old English word for badger – and her design was a stylised badger’s head – and we all wore the badge on our blazers. Which leads me to an acronym which I think sums up our themes today:
Build partnerships. If you take one thing away from today please go back to your base and find out who your local public health team are – and your local NHS library manager – and your local public library health lead contact – get them all round the table and talk about how you can work together to improve the health of the local population.
Adapt and apply innovation – try new ways of doing things. We’ve heard several times today that it’s better to try something and fail than not to try at all. Two things if it fails – firstly make sure you share the learning and secondly, go back to your partners and try something else.
Develop new ways of working. It’s a bit like the one above but this is more about looking at what you do now, working out what your priorities for the future are – and deciding on what you are going to stop doing – or do in partnership.
Grow your staff. All of our services rely on the expertise of our specialised staff. “Libraries don’t do anything – librarians do the doing” so let’s invest in the development of our teams
Explore best practice. This doesn’t have to be the innovative new stuff. Best practice is out there – be shameless and copy.
Rediscover the past and replicate. I said right at the beginning of today that we are standing on the shoulders of giants like Mona Going. We must make sure that we don’t search “just the last ten years”; there is great practice from the 1950s, the 60s and the 70s and some of it is worth exploring and replicating – even if it needs a modern twist.”
Rocio Rodriguez Lopez, an Information Specialist in the Academic Unit of Health Economics (AUHE) at the University of Leeds and one of the participants, said:
“The Information study day was an outstanding opportunity to meet professionals with a passion in common: the integration of libraries and public health to improve the population health. The presentations and the workshops were full of useful knowledge, practical advice and an encouraging message for the libraries to face this challenge. The message to take home was ‘public health is everyone’s business’. Libraries may play a cornerstone role in this process. Communication and collaboration between local authorities, public libraries and the NHS libraries is essential to maximise the impact of services designed to improve population health. Libraries need to find a way to supply high quality evidence to the local authorities about the impact of their services for public health. The new librarian roles imply the development of proactive skills related mainly to communication for effective collaborative work and skills in writing grant applications to develop ideas and attract funding.”
The programme for the day is below along with links to presentations, where they are available.
Introduction and Welcome – David Stewart
Keynote 1: Public Health in Libraries: Universal Services Coming Together – Sue Forster
Keynote 2: Knowledge management, policy and HEE: a personal viewpoint – Ged Byrne
How to use the MAP Toolkit to plan, deliver and evaluate a partnership project that is aligned with strategic objectives – Victoria Treadway and Heather Steele: This hands-on session gave participants the opportunity to plan a project to support patient / public information provision and the knowledge to ensure that their project will clearly demonstrates impact.
Using the arts in Libraries to benefit health and well-being – Sue Williamson and Cath Shea: This workshop looked at some of the projects delivered as part of the Cultural Hubs Arts in Libraries programme by St Helens Council Library Service with a particular focus on mental health.
Health information literacy: what do ‘they’ need to know? – Lisa Jeskins: With the increased push for health information literacy for all, what information do services need to provide for the public, patients and careers? This workshop touched on fake news, #factsmatter, evidence and critical thinking. The ambitious aim was to create guidelines to help library service to navigate the information literacy landscape.
Partnership working in Wirral: Sharing learning from NHS and public library collaboration – Linda Taylor and Pete Aspinall: Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (WUTH) and Wirral Council have worked together for the last 2 years to support the health and wellbeing of the local community. During this time they established a Reminiscence Box loan service which was awarded the LIHNN Quality Improvement Gold Award in 2016. They have also delivered a Health Information Roadshow across four different public libraries. A close working relationship has developed which allows them to refer appropriately across organisations and support literacy within the local community through initiatives such as Quick Reads. While working in partnership across local authority and healthcare boundaries has been an exceptional opportunity to directly support the local community, it has also presented a unique set of challenges. This session presents the learning from the perspectives of both organisations and discusses their future plans.
Health and wellbeing opportunities in libraries: experiences from the Doncaster NHS and Public Library partnership – Janet Sampson and Nick Stopforth: Overview of the health and wellbeing initiatives in Doncaster, focusing particularly on the Reading Well Books on Prescription schemes and NHS library staff delivering training and providing resources to public library staff to answer health information enquiries. There was then the opportunity for workshop attendees to explore and share how they would take this forward in their own areas – making connections, working together and delivering on the patient and public health information agenda.
Regenerating the Public Library Health Offer – Julie Spencer: This session looked at new strands adding energy and momentum to the Universal Health Offer at national and local level. These new areas of work will help to build new local partnerships and profile for library services and support access to new funding to revitalise activity. They are:
- Reading Well: Books on Prescription for long term conditions
- Reading Friends, empowering, engaging and connecting with older people, people with dementia and carers by starting conversations with reading. Pilot projects, materials and evaluation methods for this programme
- Health information networks. Delivering health information and improving health literacy in partnership.
How can Libraries support Recovery Colleges? – Sarah Hennessy: This workshop outlined how Sarah worked with recovery colleges in her locality including supporting volunteer staff, collections management and literature searches.
The “Engaging Libraries” scheme – public engagement with a health and wellbeing focus (plus supporting notes) – Andy Wright: Based on the work done between SCL and the Wellcome Trust in the first half of 2016, the Engaging Libraries scheme is a unique opportunity for the public library sector to demonstrate to philanthropic organisations that we can be innovative and are worth investing in. Those attending this session learnt more about the Engaging Libraries scheme, what public engagement means to organisations like the Wellcome Trust, the difference between public engagement and health promotion, and there was even a lesson on how to have “idea sex”. Applications for the scheme are open from now until August 23rd to apply for £5,000 to £15,000 with projects taking place between October 2017 and September 2018.
Feedback – what participants have said they will do differently as a result of attending the event
“I will make contact with our health librarian at our local hospital and see what we can do to support her and vice versa. I will explore some of the ideas that I have had and those that were suggested at the study day.”
“I went away to look at Recovery Colleges as I knew very little about them before and it was obvious there is a lot of opportunity for health libraries here.”
“I now have some very practical tips on partnership working and although I was already aware of the MAP Toolkit, I now feel confident to use it in planning, implementing and evaluating future projects. “
“I will take back the learning, especially from the workshops, and look at what we can do in our service to bring about closer working with public health colleagues “
“Have made contact with a PL collegeague and invited to visit; will revisit Making Every Contact Count to see if useful for STPs, joint training with PL, Trust HWB agenda”
“Will try to contact public health department to see if we can work together – already working with public library service.”
NHS LKS Workforce Development Manager North
NHS Health Care Libraries Unit – North