Library year in review

A reflection on the past year of library services and activities, covering autumn 2021 to autumn 2022

Welcome to the latest library annual review. It has been an eventful year for the library, and one that has started to change the service quite radically. The library has always been an integral part of the Trust’s academic and clinical work, providing an information infrastructure connecting academics, students and clinicians to evidence-based information, both digital and in print. 


Last year we continued to work remotely as most of our users were still not attending the Trust. By then, they had got used to the fact that 95% of our resources and services were available online and certainly took advantage of this, and the use of our rapidly growing ebook collection, online journals and full-text databases has increased enormously.  

Early on in the pandemic, once restrictions had loosened a bit, and because the important print collection was inaccessible to users, a member of staff went into the library once a week to send out any books that had been requested and weren’t available online. We had already set up a Freepost label so books could be returned to us without users having to pay for postage. If new books were ordered as a result of a user request, we usually arranged for the book to be sent directly to them from the supplier. These steps ensured that there was still good access to physical items.

We have also made available an online archive of all issues of the Trust’s old house journal The Tavistock Gazette. Plus we have further developed our Docstore platform to allow us to make recordings of some of the Trust Scientific Meetings accessible online, along with other important audio-visual material.

Reading lists are another very important resource for the students and are produced in collaboration with course leads and tutors. These lists give full-text links to essential readings, thus saving the students a lot of valuable time. They are really appreciated, as we saw by the score of 92% they gave reading lists in the last student survey. 

The Staff Publications Open Access repository continues to make the work of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust available to a worldwide audience. The repository holds details of over 2500 books, book chapters, articles and theses by staff and research students from 2007 onwards. It is possible to freely download work held on this repository wherever this message appears: ‘full text available’. The repository has had half a million downloads from all over the world since its inception, and these are increasing annually.

Information skills training

It is one thing to provide lots of different online resources, but that isn’t enough, as we also need to teach our users to make full use of them. Our trainer Mathew Lubrun, who achieved the status of Fellow of Higher Education Academy last year, offers information skills sessions on using the library and reading lists, basic and advanced database searching, reference managing, citing and referencing, and avoiding plagiarism. This teaching is embedded into academic long courses, and other one-to-one sessions are offered to disabled students, clinical and academic staff. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion

During the past year, the library has worked again with teaching and clinical staff to produce subject-specific web pages to support the work the Trust is doing in this area. We will continue to work with EDI leads to further develop our collections in these areas.

The library website

The library site has been redesigned and moved to become part of the Trust’s new Education & Training website. We took the opportunity to make changes to the structure, adding a new help with resources section. The content of help pages has also been improved to provide more advice on how to get started with our resources.

For added convenience, a further development allows you to now search Discovery, Journal Finder and the catalogue directly from the library home page. Plus we have added a new clinical page, which includes a link to a trauma resources page developed in collaboration with the Tavistock Trauma Service.

We would love to know what you think of the new-look site and help pages, so please get in touch to let us know.

Strategic review and self-assessment

The two key events for the library during the past year were completing a very detailed self- assessment for the Health Education England and the participation in the Trust Strategic Review. These both took up a great deal of time.  

The Strategic Review has resulted in the library having cuts in staffing, and the resulting reorganisation of library job roles means we unfortunately have had to reduce or withdraw some services. However, the library staff have been very positive about the changes and will work innovatively to ensure the users will continue to receive a good service.  

The Health Education England Self-Assessment took at least three months of the whole team’s time and involved gathering evidence for absolutely everything we do. We were given credit for how we managed the service and provided new ways of working during the pandemic. Other good and innovative practice mentioned included working well with the Trust EDI leads and the Gender Steering Group in the area of library collection development. Also, how the library staff contribute to research in knowledge and library literature and shared good practice.  

Future developments

The library has some plans for development and will be hoping they can still progress with them with fewer staff and different ways of working. So, we will be thinking very hard about how we will be able to continue to be an innovative service.  

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