Hospital Librarian Replaced by Electronic Library After 24 Years

Medical librarian Pat Hamilton is out of a job on Friday as Rapid City Regional Hospital transitions to a self-help electronic medical library for internal use only.

For the past 24 years, Hamilton and her staff of volunteers offered medical library resources to doctors, hospital employees and medical, nursing and pharmacy students. The library's consumer health section also was available to the general public to do research on their medical conditions. Those materials have been donated to the Rapid City Public Library. The electronic library will no longer be available for public use.

Dr. Robert Allen, RCRH's vice president of medical affairs, said the library and its computer access will remain open for internal use, but it will be staffed partially by volunteers and by medical staff services personnel.

"With electronic advancements, health care facilities are increasingly moving to this type of library," Allen said in a statement. "Rapid City Regional Hospital will maintain some books and journals in its library."

The amount of money saved by the move is not known at this time, he said.

Library volunteer Joyce Herbst said: "They can put whatever spin they want on it, but brass tacks is that they're closing the library. I guess I just don't understand how you can take that resource away from a teaching hospital. How can it be a teaching hospital, without a resource library and someone to run it? I just think it's not a very smart thing to do."


They didn't replace the librarian with an electronic library, they got rid of the librarian and purchased an electronic library without any professionals to staff it.

Bill Drew

Well this is gonna be a Great "Teaching Hospital" Library...all the students and Doctors are now going to have to teach themselves how to: search the databases and use the correct query terms!

Not to mention that quite a bit of the material they use will now be in the Public Library, and they will have to drive to an off site location and hope that the Librarians there will be up-to-date on all the new medical materials they now have.

This is going to be a huge waste of time...and we all know, in the big business of Doctors & Hospitals Time=$$$$$$

Way to go!


What title would you propose Bill?

Can it really be called a library, then?

How does the collection get developed? You can't get very far on dated medical texts. Assuming new materials are somehow added to the collection, how can users find them if there's no one to catalog them and add them to the database?

Cutting out library services in a teaching and research hospital is asking for it. The lawyers would love to be able to show how doctors reduced costs and increased profits, all the while increasing dangers to patients.

In a lethal medical experiment that could have been averted, Ellen Roche, a healthy, 24-year-old volunteer in an asthma study at Johns Hopkins University, died in June 2001. She died because a chemical she inhaled in the experiment led to the progressive failure of her lungs and kidneys. The physician who conducted the experiment and the ethics panel that approved it allegedly overlooked numerous clues about the dangers of the chemical, hexamethonium, given to Ellen Roche to inhale.

Adding particular poignancy to the case is that evidence of the chemical's dangers could easily have been found in the published literature. The Baltimore Sun concluded that although the experiment’s supervising physician, Dr. Alkis Togias, made "a good-faith effort" to research the drug's adverse effects, his literature search apparently focused only on a limited number of resources, including PubMed, which is searchable only back to 1966.

Other, older articles published in the 1950s and those citations in subsequent publications, warned of lung damage associated with hexamethonium. The Sun's investigation included an article that asked the question, "Could Librarians' Help Have Prevented Hopkins Tragedy?"

The answer is, "Yes!"

R. Lee Hadden (These are my own opinions!)

I visited the LGES network before one month,Librarian was working as a primary teacher at there.

By:Muhammad Naeem Bhutta
Librarian 0322-4721878
The University of Faisalabad
Ameen Campus.