Posted: December 4, 2017

Caroline Yeomans has a big role in “weeding” through information to provide better answers.

As GRH’s library and archives supervisor, she supports on-going education for health professionals.

Caroline runs the health sciences libraries at the Freeport and KW campuses. She’s also provided her expertise to the re-opening of the patient and family resource centre in GRH’s regional cancer centre.

Caroline Yeomans

Vast amounts of information can be available today at a health provider’s fingertips. But Caroline says now more than ever, health professionals can depend on librarians to dig through informational weeds to find flowers that support better patient care.

Why did you choose a career in library and information sciences?

I have always loved libraries and have a thirst for information and knowing the “why” of things.  Finding answers to questions is a task which gives me great pleasure and satisfaction.  I have a liberal arts undergraduate education with a double major in comparative literature and French. Given my curiosity about all things it just made sense to pursue a master’s degree in library and information science.

What attracted you to library activities in health care?

I started my library career working with therapists and families of children with special needs.  I enjoy helping people who are on a journey to find their way with the help of available resources.  I am very interested in mental health and that interest has expanded to other areas of health care.  I also enjoy maintaining the hospital archives with the help of several wonderful volunteers as part of my role at GRH.

How has working in libraries changed through your career?

I have worked in libraries for about 12 years.  During that time there has of course been a much greater access to information at our fingertips.  In my opinion this requires more vetting by qualified people to make sure that the information being acquired is accurate.  I enjoy the job of digging through the weeds to find the flowers.

Caroline Yeomans Shelves
Caroline sorts through the collections in the KW Campus health sciences library
How do you work with health care providers to find them information? How have those requests changed?

The hospital subscribes to many evidence-based tools for information gathering. We also provide access to specific resources for physicians, nurses, and allied health providers including dietitians for example.

I help staff navigate the wealth of evidence-based resources available through the hospital subscriptions as well as the information available on the internet to provide the best care for patients.  People expect to receive information more quickly than in the past and in an electronic format.

In this era of people doing quick research via the internet, how does your service provide extra value or more effective research?

In the information age it is more important than ever to have access to someone who is trained in “weeding” through the overwhelming amount of online sources.  Library and information specialists are trained to provide evidence-based information and to narrow the focus of requests so that the information provided is the information sought. 

The internet is a great source of information, however maintaining relevant subscription databases provides a deeper more evidence based source of reference material.

What would you like people to know about working in a hospital library that they wouldn’t normally know?

When asked “what do you do” by acquaintances my response that I work in a hospital library generally surprises people.  Many are not aware that hospitals have libraries – or what their purpose is.  In my role, I can help out in many ways in a hospital. 

Library and information specialists are lifelong learners and are always willing to step up to a new challenge – so when in doubt – ask us!

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