I hope that you have been having an energizing National Library Week!
Last week I mentioned how hospital libraries and credible health information contribute to positive patient outcomes, and how patients generally never know the impact library services had on their lives. I also mentioned the effect of hospital consolidations, acquisitions, and affiliations on access and equity that I'd discuss at another time. But first, a note about NYS Library Aid!
As you know, while the $4M the Governor had removed was restored in the final budget, there was no additional money added to Library Aid. While we are grateful to have the $4M restoration, for library systems that still means a cutback in that the CPI has increased-just not as serious as it could have been. Our categorical aid-Regional Bibliographic Databases & Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program (RBDB), Hospital Library Services Program (HLSP), and Medical Information & Services Program monies-will be impacted by rising electronic resources costs.
Back to hospital consolidations, mergers, acquisitions, and affiliations to close that loop from last week.
When hospitals decide to consolidate or affiliate, the person responsible for library services (librarian or liaison) is generally not in the room. Negotiations occur, deals are made, and then the librarian at the larger institution is informed that they will be serving, e.g. another 300 staff at Hospital X. This hospital library, unlike Hospital X, may have a robust, expensive collection of electronic resources-perhaps UpToDate, Access Medicine, and other costly resources. Pricing for such resources is usually negotiated on a finite number of users/FTEs, so when the affiliate hospital joins, there isn't room in the budget to cover the added expense.
In New York State, affiliations do not follow 3Rs Council geographical boundaries, so there might be one large medical library suddenly needing to serve the information needs of hospitals in two or three 3Rs regions-all who manage their HLSP programs very differently. The 3Rs Councils are usually the very last to know about the affiliations. Affiliations become a matter of equity in two ways: 1) there are not enough HLSP funds to adequately support an affiliate library's subscription to expensive resources without compromising what other hospitals within the HLSP program receive; 2) staff at one affiliate hospital may not have access to the same robust resources as staff in other affiliate hospitals or the parent hospital.
One solution: CEOs in the throes of negotiations need to factor in the impact of additional staff on electronic resources. They need to be aware of costs associated with these resources and determine who is going to pay for access. SCRLC offers individual grants to all hospital members, which can be used to offset costs, but the amount of the grants do not begin to cover the costs. When the HLSP budget finally increases (and we shall keep advocating!), the individual grants will, as well. Do you have other solutions? Ginger Trow
, SCRLC's HLSP Manager, and I
would love to hear from you!
To learn more about the HLSP and what SCRLC provides through it, visit HLSP
Yours in partnership,