A few days ago I visited Southmead Hospital and library. Recently re-furbished, the library was much bigger and more modern than ours here at Torbay. It’s really great to be able to meet more people in the profession, and one of the things that I liked most about this visit was talking to staff who had previously worked in mental healthcare libraries. Library people are friendly and always ready to give advice. And, graduating with an undergraduate in psychology, I am always eager to see how people integrate the subject into other careers paths. For instance, I learned more about recovery colleges, which “use an educational paradigm to complement traditional treatment approaches.”
After looking around the library, we were taken to the Brunel building, the latest addition to Southmead hospital. Entering, it was immediately apparent why it has been referred to as a “super hospital.” I have never seen anything like it. Looking more like a combination hotel/airport than hospital, there were even trees growing inside. However, my favourite thing had to be the robots. These unmanned robots take everything from bedding to bread around the hospital. A hospital of the future, indeed.
After we became an ICO (Integrated Care Organization) last year, the librarians here at Torbay have been eager to visit community hospitals for outreach. Last week I visited Totnes Hospital with my manager to meet with their staff. There’s no designated library there, and the hospital is much smaller and considerably less frantic. Also its interior reminded me of a log-cabin more than anything else. It was interesting to see how they are run, and we arranged to return in the summer to provide information literacy and database training. I’m looking forward to future visits, both to this hospital and others in the area!
Last week I visited Plymouth’s Discovery library, one of the biggest NHS libraries in the region. Although they have twice the number of staff and more than four times the amount of physical space, we share many of the same functions. I saw students and staff reading journals, researching and completing e-learning. Something unique to Plymouth, though, is their historic collection. The library houses the Plymouth Medical Society Historic Collection, which contains Hunter’s handwritten notes and a book containing, what they believe to be, the first ever use of the word “vaccination.”
In addition, they also support the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit, which provides medical care to British research stations and ships in the Antarctic. On our visit a librarian regaled us with stories of long-distance calls and Antarctic literature reviews. How interesting!