In July, a statewide library consortium was formalized. It included adding a medical library to the public circuit.
For years, Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health had its own internal medical library. But it was at risk of closing.
“The director at the time was going to close that library and use it to create a cube farm, is my understanding," said Dr. Annie Norman, Delaware's state librarian.
She and others conducted a needs assessment across the Department of Health and Social Services through surveys and staff interviews.
“It was very extremely obvious in the divisions where they have medical professionals – like nurses and such – that they did not have the information that they needed to do their jobs. They rattled off lists of stuff that they needed to access," Norman said. "Because these professionals didn’t have access to the information that they needed, the state was at legal risk...just for the cost of some library databases and the professionals to assist them.”
With support from Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and then Health Secretary Rita Landgraf, the library was expanded across the entire DHSS department.
It now includes access to databases, medical journals and more. And as part of the statewide consortium, the materials are available to the public as well.
And according to Director of Library and Information Services Alison Wessel, the library is paying off: creating $2 of benefits for employees for every $1 spent.