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New medical library 'a delightful place to spend the summer':
A Directed Fieldwork experience
By Liisa Rogers
October 20, 2002

This summer I worked full time for three months, as a Library Technician at the Murray Memorial Library of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, Oregon ( ~ unfortunately the library itself doesn't have a webpage!). Corvallis is a town of 50,000 people, located in the picturesque Willamette Valley between Portland and Eugene. The hospital is the center of medical care for the valley, and the library is a beautiful new facility in the recently completed heart wing. The furnishings, décor, and shelving are all new, plus there are large windows across the width of the room. There is a small "consumer health" bookstore (for patients and families) attached to the library, and local artwork is displayed throughout the library and heart center.

I reported to Dorothy O'Brien, MLS, Head of Library Services for the entire Samaritan Health Services regional hospital network. I also worked alongside and with Anna Mihok, Library Technician (permanent staff member). Two volunteers each worked one morning per week to check in journals and copy articles for staff. Allen and Ulo were a delight - both in their 70's and enjoyable to talk with and learn from.

The library's patrons included hospital staff, clinicians, and physicians (including student interns from pharmacy and other departments), family members of patients, and the public. Library services at GSRMC are part of the hospital's Professional Development (staff education) Department, so I also participated in staff meetings and collaborated with the educators on an ongoing basis. The majority of my time was spent on two rather large collection development projects - for the Women's Center Meslow Room and for the Cancer Center's James R. Mol Library. I also provided general reference services for staff and the public, researched and compiled bibliographies for physician continuing education, a "computer tips" project, several other projects that developed from staff requests, and standard librarian/technician work when covering for Dorothy's and Anna's vacations.

The library holdings include more than 300 journal subscriptions (paper), plus a few online resources, mostly through Ovid at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. In addition, there are medical textbooks, reference books, consumer health books, videos (for both staff and consumers), and the Consumer Health Bookstore. There are four computer terminals for the staff and public, a VCR, a scanner, (printers and a fax of course), and a pleasant sitting area by the window. Dorothy has created a welcoming atmosphere such that staff visit frequently to check email, request searches, say hello, and take their breaks in the reading area.

I looked forward to my fieldwork as an opportunity to gain additional practical experience in a hospital library setting, and the new library at GSRMC was a delightful place to spend the summer. The collection development projects were interesting and fun. I learned a lot about evaluating and choosing resources, collaborating with vendors and the unit directors, plus taking care of all the details of documentation and final implementation. I also really enjoyed developing the bibliographies for the physician's meetings. As I mentioned, the relationships with the staff and patrons were very positive, and being a part of this system provided me with a strong sense of community involvement. (In my previous career I had worked as a licensed medical social worker in Corvallis, so I know many of the physicians and staff already, and I really enjoyed maintaining these connections.) Overall it was a success, highlighted by the good feelings gained from working closely with others to accomplish a wide variety of health information tasks in a pleasant and familiar setting.

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Edited by Michael Harkovitch

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