A best-fit solution: transforming an NHS Library and Knowledge Service in readiness for a new hospital building without a traditional library space





transformation, embedded librarianship, innovation, project management


Background: Over a decade ago, the Hill report argued that a shift in vision was required to change the perception of National Health Service (NHS) Library and Knowledge Services (LKS) in England from “book repositories” to essential services that underpin clinical decision-making by patients, carers, and health care professionals. Health Education England’s Knowledge for Healthcare: A Development Framework for Library and Knowledge Services in England 2015–2020 advocates embedding librarians within clinical and management teams in order to provide access to high-quality evidence at the point of need.

Case presentation: In April 2019, Royal Papworth Hospital relocated twelve miles from its historic village location in Papworth Everard to its new state-of-the-art hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The design for this new hospital did not accommodate a traditional library space and therefore necessitated a transformation of the LKS. The organization opted to embed the LKS staff into the clinical setting and relegate 80% of the print collection to off-site storage. This project and its associated steps are presented as an example of health care library transformation.

Conclusion: Embedding the LKS team in the clinical setting, engaging in proactive outreach activity, and improving our marketing led to a 44% increase in literature searches requested compared to the same eleven-month period in the previous year. A 40% decrease in our print book loans indicates additional barriers to using a click-and-collect service and the need for greater investment in our e-book provision. However, early outcomes for our best-fit service transformation are positive. Having an open, dual mindset has enabled the service to embrace change and maximize emerging opportunities to collaborate with clinical staff on new projects.

Author Biography

Rebecca Jean Scott, Royal Papworth Hospital

Formerly Library and Knowledge Services Manager at Royal Papworth Hospital, currently Information Manager for the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire


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Case Report