The Health Library of the Seinäjoki Academic Library is the official host location of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) congress. The congress will be hosted in cooperation with the Seinäjoki Public Library. The libraries are prepared to receive international congress guests from across the world. The Health Library is a joint venture between two organisations, the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences and the South Ostrobothnia Hospital District. The Health Library will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.
Library born out of need
The design and construction of the Mediwest Research Center in the early 2000s to serve as an intermediary between Seinäjoki UAC and Seinäjoki Central Hospital gave rise to the idea of a common health sector library. The need for and usefulness of researched information in the health care sector also strengthened the cause.
Plans proceeded rapidly in the working group led by Minister of Social Affairs and Health Paula Risikko (who, at the time, was the Director of Seinäjoki UAC"s Health Care Unit). Based on the working group’s proposals, a cooperation agreement was signed between Seinäjoki UAC and the South Ostrobothnia Hospital District in 2002 concerning the founding of a new health sciences library. Officially the Health Library was opened to customers in February 2003.
Knowledge and competence equally for all
The Mediwest Research Center, where the Health Library is located, is located literally between the two organisations supporting it, within walking distance for all its customers. It houses research and project facilities of both the Hospital District and the university of applied sciences. In addition, Mediwest is home to several health care and social services companies, which means it is a meeting place for knowledge and versatile expertise.
Both the Seinäjoki Academic Library and the South Ostrobothnia Hospital District receive funding for the procurement of material. Books, journals and e-material at the Health Library are available for all to use. Other operating expenses (premises, equipment) are halved. Two to three of the Health Library’s staff come from Seinäjoki UAS and one from the Hospital District.
Researched information utilised in studies and working life
Workers in the health care sector are expected to have a strong theoretical knowledge foundation. Everything starts with their studies. Students are required to use researched information in their study tasks. As a supplier and conveyor of research information, the library is an important partner to degree programmes.
At Seinäjoki UAS, information retrieval skills are taught in the nursing, physiotherapy and geriatric nurse degree programmes. Close cooperation with teaching is essential so that students are well-prepared for working life. The PBL method used in the physiotherapy degree programme entails independent information retrieval skills already in the early part of the studies. The teaching of information retrieval is the responsibility of an information specialist at the Seinäjoki Academic Library specialising in the health care sector.
The library’s other student-customers are guided and instructed in information retrieval. Young people studying to become a practical nurse receive just as much guidance medical students from the University of Tampere. The Seinäjoki Central Hospital is a university teaching hospital, which means interns in white coats are a familiar sight at the library.
The importance of research information is further emphasised in working life. Experts participating in further education and working in development projects and the hospital’s other employees use services both at the library and in their departments. A large amount of the material is available in electronic format, but printed material remains in frequent use, too.
Facts in brief
• Staff: information specialist (Seinäjoki UAC), librarian (SOHD), 1–2 information service secretaries (Seinäjoki UAC)
• Number of volumes about 20,000; borrowing about 55,000 (2011); procurement about 1,000 volumes/year
• Teaching of information gathering about 200 hours a year
• Open Mon–Fri 9.00 am – 5.00 pm (June–July 9.00 am – 4.00 pm)
Information Specialist Leena Elenius,
Information Specialist Silja Saarikoski