Hospital library closures and consolidations: a case series

Andrea Harrow, Lisa A. Marks, Debra Schneider, Alexander Lyubechansky, Ellen Aaronson, Lynn Kysh, Molly Harrington


Background: Health sciences libraries are being closed or are under threat of closure, but little is published that looks at context and causes or alternative library service delivery models such as affiliations or consolidations. There is also very little research about the effect of these changes on health care provider satisfaction, patient care, or hospital quality indicators. Preventing library closures is not always possible, but understanding some of the circumstances leading to the decision and implementation of a closure or consolidation could inform best practice management.

Case Presentations: At a recent Medical Library Association joint chapter meeting, a panel of six librarians presented their cases of navigating a library closure or reorganization. Background information was given to highlight reasons that the decisions to reorganize or close were made. Following the case presentations, participants took part in discussion with audience members. Cases and discussion points were recorded for further research, publication, and advocacy.

Conclusions: Several points from the cases are highlighted in the discussion section of the paper. An accurate reporting of US health sciences libraries and librarian staffing is needed. More needs to be written about new library service models and best practices for centralizing and maintaining library services. After a consolidation, remaining librarians will be expected to manage the effects of staff loss and site closures and so should be involved in planning and implementing these decisions. It remains to be determined how hospitals with librarians compare in patient care and other quality indicators against hospitals without librarians.


Libraries, Medical; Libraries, Hospital; Librarians; Hospitals, Teaching; Health

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