The Tampa VA Patients' Library
An interview with Dottie Kelly and Jeff Gluff
by Carrie A. Cullen
Overview of Services
- Consumer health reference
- Clinical reference
- eBooks and audiobooks through EBSCO or OverDrive
- Career Transitions access
- Computer and Internet access
- Computer and research skills training
- Get Well Network (GWN) interactive patient care system
- My HealtheVet (read as "My Healthy Vet") registration and support
- Current fiction titles (via a McNaughton lease)
- Military and daily newspaper access
- Informational DVDs, as well as popular movies and television series
- Study support for GED and certificate programs
- Domiciliary visits for homeless veterans
Building a Health Reference Collection
The computers in the Main Library are on the VALNET system, but the eight computers in the Patients' Library are not on the system. However, patients still have access to a wealth of electronic sources through EBSCOhost and OverDrive that are appropriate for consumer use. Some of the databases available to clinicians, such as ClinicalKey and Micromedex, also have patient sections, allowing practitioners to easily print out information for patients while conducting their own research.
Defining High Quality Reference Service
Mr. Gluff agreed with this assessment, adding that it would not benefit them to have "outdated material that could conflict with what is being told to [patients] by their healthcare provider."
Ms. Kelly went on to explain that medical librarians also have legal considerations in providing health reference service. If a physician treats someone based on information provided by a librarian that is outdated or incorrect, the physician can be sued, and the librarian may be held responsible as well. Therefore, when providing information, it is critical to include the copyright information, making it clear that that the information is not coming from you, but is being derived from a specific resource.
Asking the right questions is key for providing quality reference service, but listening to the client is most important.
Links to Consumer Health Resources
Dorothy (Dottie) R. Kelly, MLIS
James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital & Clinics
Dottie earned an undergraduate degree in Information Technology from Eckerd College and an MLIS from the University of South Florida.
Jeffrey Gluff, MLIS
Patient Education Resource Center
Primary Care Annex of the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital
A veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Jeff studied political science as an undergraduate and earned his MLIS degree from Kent State University.