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Getting Started in Queensland Health Libraries: Advocacy

Information and links for new staff working in Queensland Health libraries.

Professional Development


This page brings together resources to help with advocating for your library service. 

“In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s not enough to simply go with the flow. To keep up with your ever-changing industry, you have to move beyond the traditional “business leader” position and adopt the role of “industry advocate.”

As an advocate, you’ll shape the trends, procedures, and legislation that will affect your future success. You’ll earn the respect and appreciation of industry peers. And you’ll have the opportunity to set the tone for the future of your industry, which will give your business an inside track on developments.

But becoming an advocate carries a lot of responsibility, and at times, it can be difficult. Advocating for innovation means your efforts will constantly be threatened by those who have made their living keeping things the way they are. However, you can’t be afraid to disrupt. After all, those who don’t innovate simply won’t survive.” (Source:

Ours is a nuanced and highly specialised niche profession, you may encounter some whom do not understand the purpose of your expertise, role, the Library and/or the Library Service.
The following, partially drawn from discussion on a March 2021 MedLib-L discussion list[1]), are some tips to assist when advocating on behalf of the Library and its staffing, resources and services.

[1] “Need help advocating for the library”, 19/03/2021.


Identify library allies, advocates and clinical champions, ideally section heads that use the library.  Ensure this is multi-disciplinary ie Allied Health, Medical, Nursing, Quality and Safety, and, Management.
Power within the hierarchy matters.

Organisational Exposure

If you can be away from the Library, get onto some committees and regularly attend grand rounds. This is a great way to get “the bigger picture” of the organisation plus raise both the Library’s and your own professional profile.

Sell Your Professional Skills

Do clients want you, a professional, specialist health librarian doing literature searches and ILL for them, taking care of licenses, links, and remote access issues, or are they okay with their departmental support staff doing it?

Show how the library can aid the specific goals of specific divisions and your institution than just promote the wonderfulness of libraries. 

E.g. Nursing – continued education and advanced certification support; what books and study guides will support their studies. Promote the library to the educators so they know that the library can help them achieve their goal in specific ways.


When you do critical literature searches for someone of high standing in the organisation, use it to get the message across that you have high level and effective search skills of importance to patient care and the organisation's success.

Presenting Your Case

Present issues/statistics and solutions in a format familiar to the organisation’s hierarchy e.g. 

  • Scope of Practice
  • Business case
  • SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation)


Revocation of Library Space

It can be difficult to argue for library space especially when knowing the hospitals and health services to which we are tied constantly experience a shortage of space.

The Library is an important area for all staff to:

  • Access computers
  • Have time out
  • Meet lecturers, other students, study supervisors
  • Network with colleagues
  • Study
  • Undertake education
  • Undertake mandatory training
  • Undertake professional reading
  • Undertake research

* For hospitals and health services in study agreements with Universities, many have a requirement for their student and faculty to have access to an onsite library. Failure to fulfill this requirement may be in breach of the agreement.


It makes neither fiscally or educational sense for online resources to be decentralised.

Many sections require access to the same information resources - decentralisation potentially requires the purchasing of the same resources by multiple sections.

Print reference books- Question "Who will ensure that these are returned, maintained in a readable condition, remain current?"

Online resources - Question "Who will maintain the links (it may be IT), plus the relationship between vendor and hospital?

CHLA Statement - Hospital Libraries

Advocacy Support

HLA and ALIA provide Advocacy support - refer to:

MLA site has a few resources on their Advocacy webpages (membership required to access). See: Advocacy/ Health Information Profession /Association of Health Science Librarians / Advocacy, to access useful statistics on the benefits of hospital libraries and librarians. 

Consult Your Colleagues

The Queensland Health Libraries have a wealth of knowledgeable and experienced library managers, contact one or more to confidentially discuss your issues with a mind to possible solutions or pathways for progress. 


Image previewHealth Libraries Australia reports:

Industrial Relations

Awards (Queensland Health)

Enterprise Bargaining (Queensland Health) 
A body of work on Enterprise Bargaining is also stored on the QHLN share drive.

Together (Union)

Wage Rates

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True Value Calculator / Syracruse University. School of Information Studies.
(Although designed for public libraries, this tool is of value to health and special libraries too.)

Valuing Library Services Calculator / NLM - note: US values but a good starting point.