ASIS&T Hosts Distance Medical Librarian Webinar

iStudent Blog

Published: April 16, 2020 by Havilah Steinman

Student chapters of professional associations at San José State University iSchool are a catalyst for real-world experience and connecting theory to practical application. San José State University Chapter of the Association for Information Science & Technology is no exception, and works hard to bring in speakers to host live webinars for the student body. Their mission to connect students with current professionals in the information field is exemplified by one of their recent events, Distance Medical Librarian Webinar! This live event was recorded and is now viewable on their Youtube Channel. See below for a roundup of helpful insight from their fantastic webinar.

Ashely Bassett, MS, MLIS, AHIP, Assistant Medical Librarian at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions inherited quite a lot of library practices that weren’t quite up to par with how she envisioned serving her student body. Armed with a can-do spirit and a desire to build relationships with other departments, she and her coworkers embarked on a journey that led the library to the great success it enjoys today! Hopefully, this story will help inform some difficulties you face at your library and arm you with tools to affect positive change. 

Small Medical Library – Know Your Patron’s Needs

Bassett shared that Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions does have some local, on-campus students, but most of the students they serve are online. When she started working there, they only had the ability to conduct reference services over the phone. This led to lots of problems communicating with the students and being able to troubleshoot their issues. Without seeing what they could see on their screen, they were essentially blind. 

The library switched to LibLynx, which allows for Bassett to immediately see what an individual student sees when they call with an issue. This increased their troubleshooting abilities exponentially. More so, they were able to limit database access depending on the needs of the program a student is enrolled in. Finally, LibLynx allows Bassett to run analytics to see which resources and databases are being used and how often. 

Database Selection – Not One Size Fits All

When Bassett stepped into her role at the library, lots of databases were not being used at all by students or faculty. By collaborating with her team and faculty, they were able to save the library over $70,000 and tripled access to the library’s full-text database to students. During the webinar’s Q&A session, Bassett was asked if she experienced pushback from faculty and administration by making such drastic changes, and she advised that by pulling stakeholders into the discussion, they were able to alleviate any concerns at the outset. 

Book a Librarian

Bassett shared that attending conferences specific to their niche library field contributed greatly to their successful transition. One example of this is their Book a Librarian tool, which allows students to schedule one on one time with Bassett or her coworker. More than just a fantastic play on words, they host these appointments via Zoom and are able to directly connect with students and meet their reference needs. Bassett has repeat students who book time for specific assignments, and sees this tool as one of their greatest triumphs in their transition! 

Physical Library Gets a Makeover 

Their space is small, with one row of stacks for books and journals. In the center is the dissertations and capstones, and anatomical models! They’re constantly adding more to those, including their skeleton Fred. When Bassett came, students didn’t have a place to put the books when they were done. So the team decided to invest in a small mailbox that’s meant for a front porch and turn that into a book drop. It’s this kind of ingenuity that has brought Bassett so much success in this library makeover! 

Interested in More?

San José State University Chapter of the Association for Information Science & Technology is always looking for new members, and there are lots of ways to get involved! Stay up to date on more virtual events hosted by ASIS&T by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!  


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