Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Taking Training to the Users

My first post so here goes....

Here in Bristol we had particular success with a project to provide information skills training for midwives. Nothing new in that you may think. True, but we provided the training sessions on central delivery suite (CDS), using a small resource room within the building - something I'm not aware of having been done before.

It did involve working quite closely with the directorate employing midwives, to set up and iron out any wrinkles. Midwifery took the bookings, knowing that every Wednesday the trainer would be present on CDS for two sessions accommodating four people per session. This helped the midwives take on ownership and not see this as something being imposed on them from another part of the Trust. Working closely with midwifery also helped us publicise the service - we had a launch event with a presentation, tea and buns and from time to time I would visit the wards with a midwifery manager to drum up interest when things were looking a little slack. Being under their noses on CDS meant that they saw what was going on, and often midwives would turn up at the last minute if things were quiet at the time.

The sessions focused on increasing awareness of the range of information sources available online - NeLH and the midwifery specialist library, Cochrane, search skills, and our local NHS library website. One of the key resources was also MIDIRS - I fully appreciate the irony that as of today the NeLH/MIDIRS resource had been discontinued.

It was great to help join services up for users. On one accasion a midwife was interested in finding information to support a job application. We did a search and then identified which journals were easily accessible in the library - "I've not been in the library in years" she admitted. Soon after the training session she arrived in the library and eagerly photocopied some of the articles we had found. It even has a happy ending as she got the job.

Can't really see any reason why this type of things couldn't be spun off and provided for physios, OTs and other professional groups with a little creative thinking. I think providing the training on their home turf really was the key to the success of the project - something which a lot of outreach librarians already appreciate and use to their advantage.

If anyone would like a little more nitty-gritty detail do get in touch



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