Protesters Demand to be Heard about the Closing of the Rapid City Hospital Library

Submitted by birdie on Mon, 06/15/2009 - 10:33

Follow up on a story we posted last week about the Rapid City Regional Hospital removing its librarian and closing its library (I like to think that maybe LISNews contributed to what LJ is calling the 'backlash'...)

Library Journal reports: Rapid City Regional Hospital (RCRD), SD, has ended public access to its medical library and fired its longtime medical librarian, provoking a negative reaction to the decision.

In response to a story in the Rapid City Journal June 9, some 70 people wrote about their displeasure with the hospital, bringing up salient points about the nature of libraries and librarians.

Unfortunately, closing libraries is an increasingly common occurrence in the private sector. But in this case, the public has been affected, and they’re making sure their displeasure is heard.

"A library is about INFORMATION, not about books," wrote one poster. "Librarians are skilled in helping people connect with the INFORMATION they need, AND they help to make the information accessible too," she continued.

Many posters made well-informed arguments for the profession. A past hospital employee wrote, "[Other hospitals] understand that the librarian is the key to making these electronic resources work, finding the best resources to buy, at the best prices, continuously teaching users and making the databases work well for the employees, doctors, and patients."

Another wrote, "Medical librarians also do things like literature reviews to support writing case reports for publication. In turn, publication advances research, and enlightens patient care decisions, among other things."

Another, "B Fetters," who identified him/herself as a doctor, wrote, "I can't imagine doing a good targeted search without the help of a professional (aka medical librarian)." "Ask yourself this, "wrote another. "If your loved one was in the ICU, would you prefer that the doctor be at the beside, or sitting at a computer searching for information, when this could be done more efficiently by the librarian?"