Types of service

Types of service an NHS library might offer to the public 

You could offer a mixture of these services, although some may not be appropriate for all libraries.

There are many more ideas in the Ideas Bank. 

See also:

Further guidance

1.Helping healthcare staff to provide high quality patient information 

Case study: 

    • Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a rigorous process to produce Patient Information Leaflets.
    • The library staff collaborate with the Trust’s Policy Co-ordinator to ensure the production of Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) is evidence based and follows a standardised format.
    • librarian attends PIL development meeting. 
    • Evidence underpinning the information is sought in a systematic way and the leaflets are reviewed by a lay reader’s panel. 
    • They are validated by a clinical team, of which the Clinical Librarian is a member.
    • The leaflets are produced commercially, following an online template available on the Trust’s intranet. This ensures the leaflets look professional and are therefore more likely to be trusted by patients. 
    • For more information see the Ideas Bank 

2. Walk-in reference use of the library 

3. Enquiry service for patients and the public 

4. Collaboration with your local public library service           

Case study:

    • In summer 2013, North East London NHS Trust’s Library Team provided hands on health information skills training to local public library staff as part of the Trust’s Recovery College pilot project.
    • Immediate post-training evaluations was positive. 
    • A follow up survey found that public library staff who had the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills gained in the training reported they took less time to answer enquiries and had confidence in the information they gave to the enquirer.  
    • For more information see the Ideas Bank 

5.Facilitating patient / public health literacy 

Case Study:

    •  Providing sessions to patients on safe health information websites. 
    • As part of the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative, library staff at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust attend well-being sessions held at community venues.
    • They engage with patients, their families and carers. Encouraging them to access websites which display quality standards, such as the Information Standard, for their health information.
    • They also give simple website appraisal advice using the mnemonic WWW (who, what and where).
    •  As well as a display, there is a leaflet for patients. This leaflet has now been adopted by the Trust as a core part of every patient information stand. 
    • These sessions have also been requested by healthcare staff in other areas for their patient support groups. 
    • For more information see the Ideas Bank 

 6. The library open to the public