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Bull Med Libr Assoc. Jan 1991; 79(1): 17–27.
PMCID: PMC225479

Clinical medical librarian: the last unicorn?

Abstract

In the information age of the 1990s, the clinical medical librarian (CML) concept, like many other personalized library services, is often criticized as being too labor-intensive and expensive; others praise its advantages. To determine the attitudes of medical school library directors and clinical department heads toward implementation and feasibility of a CML program, forty randomly selected medical schools were surveyed. A double-blind procedure was used to sample department heads in internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery, as well as health sciences library directors identified by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Library Directors (AAHSLD) annual statistics. The survey instrument was designed to measure responses to the following attitudinal variables: acceptance and nonacceptance of a CML program; importance to patient care, education, and research; influence on information-seeking patterns of health care professionals; ethical issues; CML extension services; and costs. Seventy-nine usable questionnaires out of a total of 120 (66%) were obtained from clinical medical personnel, and 30 usable questionnaires out of a total of 40 (75%) were obtained from medical school library directors. Survey results indicated significant differences between clinical medical personnel and library personnel regarding attitudes toward CML influence on information-seeking patterns, ethics, alternative CML services, and costs. Survey results also indicated a continuing strong support for CML programs in the medical school setting; however, differences of opinion existed toward defining the role of the CML and determining responsibility for funding.

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Selected References

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