Building capacity among health care librarians to teach evidence-based practice—an evaluation

Abigail Sabey, Michele Biddle


Objective: An innovative funding scheme for health care librarians to attend an intensive short course in teaching evidence-based practice was established in the West of England in 2016. This evaluation aims to understand the value of the scheme and the impact of the training opportunity for the librarians, establish an evidence base for continuing with the funding scheme, and inform the development of plans to build additional capacity among health care librarians to provide critical appraisal training.

Methods: Seven librarians working in health care system settings were funded by the scheme between 2016 and 2018. Post-course feedback forms gathered initial views on course content and delivery, which informed the development of questions for the qualitative phase of the evaluation. All seven librarians participated in group discussions and individual interviews.

Results: The course boosted confidence, provided valuable new skills, and positively impacted careers of the librarians through access to new opportunities. It inspired the development of new approaches to critical appraisal training. An important need was identified among the librarians for more education in teaching. Librarians funded by the scheme have successfully cascaded the training to their colleagues.

Conclusion: This evaluation supports the continuation of the funding scheme to further build capacity among health care librarians to teach evidence-based practice. It suggests additional investment in this type of specialist training, as well as in education in teaching skills, would be beneficial for health care librarians. Evidence from this evaluation is informing new plans to support these professionals with the vital service they provide, which contributes to the evidence-based culture of their organizations and to patient outcomes.


evidence-based practice; evaluation; capacity building; librarians; critical appraisal

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