The University of Iowa Libraries’ Hardin Library for the Health Sciences has been awarded a five-year grant to continue its role as a Regional Medical Library (RML) in the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM). NNLM consists of seven competitively selected RMLs; Hardin Library will serve Region 6. The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest biomedical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, will award Hardin Library $5.7 million to develop programs and services aimed at addressing health literacy and health equity through information access. In 2016, Hardin Library was awarded a five-year grant to establish an RML for the Greater Midwest Region. This new grant will enable Hardin to build on its work over the past five years.
As a Regional Medical Library, the Hardin Library’s role is to carry out regional and national programs in support of NNLM’s mission to provide U.S. researchers, health professionals, public health workforce, educators, and the public with equal access to biomedical and health information resources and data. The emphasis of the RML program is to bring quality health, public health, and biomedical information resources within reach of the public and all health and public health professionals.
Among other objectives, each RML is expected to:
- Develop approaches to promote awareness of, improve access to, and enable use of NLM’s resources and data,
- Develop and support a diverse workforce to access information resources and data, and support data-driven research,
- Provide community-driven innovative approaches and interventions for biomedical and health information access and use.
To accomplish these objectives, Hardin’s team of five librarians will form partnerships with libraries and other organizations and offer a variety of in-person and online training for health professionals; community organizations; health-information centers; and public, hospital, and academic medical libraries throughout the country, with a regional focus on Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In addition, Hardin Library will fund awards to assist regional libraries and other organizations to educate and support access to biomedical and health information resources and data within medically underserved areas.
Linda Walton, associate university librarian at the University of Iowa Libraries, will serve as director for the Regional Medical Library. Derek Johnson, the current associate director for the RML, will continue in this role. John Culshaw, university librarian for the UI Libraries, commends the Hardin Library staff for earning this competitive contract.
“This grant recognizes the efforts and leadership of staff at UIowa’s Hardin Library for the Health Sciences over the past five years. Their role, especially during the pandemic, has been invaluable to researchers, health professionals, and members of public throughout the region,” he says. “Not only does this renewed contract reflect well on the quality and breadth of our library’s outreach efforts within Iowa and our region but also on the high level of staff expertise and leadership at Hardin.”
Since its original authorization by Congress in the 1965 Medical Library Assistance Act, the NNLM has worked to equalize and enhance access to health information and data throughout the United States. This Network is vital in NLM’s outreach efforts to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public’s health by providing education and access to information for U.S. researchers, health professionals, public health workforce, educators, and the public. NNLM’s main goals are to work through libraries and other members to support a highly trained workforce for biomedical and health information resources and data, promote health literacy, and advance health equity through access to trusted, quality health information.
During the previous (2016-2021) grant period, the RMLs awarded more than 1,338 subawards to NNLM members. The RMLs, in collaboration with funded NNLM members, conducted more than 10,000 training events and other outreach and engagement activities reaching more than 108,000 health professionals, librarians, and members of the public.
Developed resources reported in this press release are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM013729. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.