UHMLG 2012 Summer Conference Tuesday 19th June

Day Two of the UHMLG Summer Conference at York dawned bright and sunny, and the York Wheel turned slowly in the manicured gardens as we gathered, full of breakfast, for our second programme.

Catriona Kemp, Medical Librarian from Hull York Medical School was our first speaker of the day. She shared their most recent methods, findings and actions from a survey seeking to engage students on the topic of the impact of not just library services, but a wider student experience. The realities of providing a service to a cohort of students in two locations and institutions was fascinating. It was clear that the reason why the students feel that HYMS provides a high quality service, despite the difficulties Catriona had mentioned, was the focus on feeding back and acting upon student concerns in a very timely manner. As Cat emphasised, if you leave it too long, you lose the link between the survey exercise and the response. There were plenty of questions at the end, delegates were scribbling furiously on their pads and ipads…

Linda Ferguson, Deputy Director of NHS NW Health Care Libraries Unit then gave a concise and very informative journey through quality assurance in the NHS. She explained the rationale and methodology behind the Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) and demonstrated the centrality of quality to the NHS library service. Linda’s presentation was warmly received as academic librarians often find it difficult to stay abreast of the developments in the NHS, and Linda’s clear talk helped enormously.

Next, we welcomed Geoff Glover, Head of Health  Sciences at the Higher Education Academy. Geoff took us through the new reconfigured HEA, drawing out his priorities and providing some fascinating examples of  some of the wonderful work supported by the Academy. He emphasised the Academy’s desire to work collaboratively with groups such as UHMLG and professional practitioners as well as academics in order to promote excellence in all aspects of health education.

After a refreshing tea break we listened to Helen Loughran, Planning and Marketing Manager from Leeds Metropolitan University, who drew out the positive impact and value the Customer Service Award had brought to the library staff, users and services. It was really positive to hear Helen talking about importance of putting the experience of the customer at the heart of their service, and the commitment the staff felt to a service which they were proud to work in. It was clear that the time and effort the library had put into the CSE had had it’s impact in the fact that the library at LeedsMet is punching above it’s weight in the NSS scores. It was also clear from the questions after the presentation that lots of delegates were interested in the CSE award.

Our final session of the conference was a TeachMeet with lightening presentations by four UHMLG members. The purpose of these talks was to share innovative approaches which had had demonstrable impact.

Sarah Lawson from King’s College London shared her experience of a survey cutting across a number of types of library provision. It was clear from the responses that users felt that their access to library services had a direct impact on their clinical effectiveness and CPD.

Lisa Flint from UCL shared a new approach to teaching students research skills. Moving away from a structured, carefully timed and curriculum contextually driven session, she enthused about the ‘buzz’ created by asking students to go off in groups to research a scientist. She let them loose, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. The feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive and she had clearly had a good time too!

Vicki Cormie from St Andrews University explained how she has used LibGuides to great effect, particularly to overcome to difficulties of students drawing resources from both the NHS and the university. She showed how she has utilised many of the possibilities of embedding other technologies into LibGuides in a way which maintained a clean and consistent look and feel for users. Even those in the audience who are already LibGuide users took away some really useful tips for the future.

Finally, Wendy Stanton from the University of Nottingham shared her experience of an online moderated literature searching course which she had piloted. It was clear that, despite our usual belief that face to face is the most effective way of teaching, the students had found tremendous value in this course, with one feedback comment that it “has changed their life”. There were very interested questions about how it worked from a  staffing point of view and what changes they would make in the next round – there will be a next round – they have a waiting list!  It was clear that Wendy was going to receive a lot of emails and calls from delegates in the next few weeks.

We wrapped up with a wonderful lunch and some delegates were whisked off for tours of York University and York St John University libraries. The whole conference brought together so many aspects of measuring value and impact – from abstract theory right through to practical examples – we all felt we had enough to keep us busy until the Summer Conference in 2013…

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