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Getting Started in Queensland Health Libraries: Introduction

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


The Queensland Health Libraries Network is a vibrant, supportive and cooperative group made up of managers and staff from the 19 State Government library services located in Hospital and Health Services across Queensland, Australia.

This LibGuide provides an introduction to working within the Network and provides links to helpful sites and information to get new staff started and is an ongoing reference for longer term staff.

For local information, refer to your own Library's procedures or the Statewide Queensland Health intranet, QHEPS.


Moving from an Academic or Public Library to a Hospital Library

Things are different in hospital libraries compared with academic or public libraries. Client service is everything and the reference interview is key to effective client service. Evidence-based practice is an integral part of health librarianship and client delivered health information. Discovering what the requested information will be used for is vital in helping frame not only the search strategy but which database/s to interrogate, currency of the information, and, the information level and how much literature is required e.g. a university assignment vs a systematic review vs direct patient care.

Turnaround times are faster, more time-sensitive; requests require higher level filtering so you don't overwhelm the user.

Hospital libraries must be able to prove their worth. If the library environment is "do it yourself" rather than client-focused clinical teams will not seek the librarian's help. Keep in mind that behind every clinical question is an individual person's life; the right search results can be the difference between a discharge or a re-admittance.

If you get the chance, shadow an experienced hospital librarian to see how they work. It may also be advantageous to spend some time with a clinician to get an understanding of their work environment and pressures. Strive to become a trusted, valued resource for the hospital; it may be difficult if you are a solo librarian, but it can be done. 

Jane Orbell-Smith AFALIA, AALIA (CDP) Health Librarian


Suggested Reading: Bartley, K., Simuel, J. & Williams, J. (2021). New to health sciences librarianship: strategies, tips, and tricks. JMLA 109 (2).

Current Awareness Service

LISA (Library and Information Science Abstracts) latest publications

HLA Alerts (ALIA. Health Libraries Australia) - Member service only via email.


Many of the libraries use LibGuides or LibGuidesCMS to create their website, procedures manual, and/or subject guides. Springshare are the vendor.

Queensland Health Libraries Network

QHLN meet via online (Teams - "QHLN- Queensland Health Libraries Network") the second Monday of each month with a face to face meeting held each November.

Information on the Network is held on the QHLN Teams site.

Make sure you goupdate contact details for your Library on the QH Libs Contact List (the last file in the shared QHLN drive and also in the Teams/ QHLN/General/ files/ ...).

Instructions for the QHLN meetins are available at "Teams\General\Files\QH Library Network meetings..."

Further Resources

There are a range of resources that will help you in your role with a Queensland Health Library Service.

  • CKN  - The Queensland Health aggregated databases, ebooks, ejournals & clinical content.
  • Queensland Health Libraries - Includes catalogue, ebooks, ejournals, article retrieval, subject guides.
  • QHLN Share Drive and QHLN ALMA Share Drive - Apply to Townsville Health Library for access, pathway and shortcut . If you are unable to add the shortcut yourself, log a job with IT Support to load to your login.
  • QHLN Teams - Common files, procedures and online meetings utilise Microsoft Teams software.
  • Queensland Health Intranet (QHEPS).
  • Online IT Support - For all your IT issues.
  • Local Procedures, Hospital and Health Service Drives and/or Intranet Sites - refer to your line manager for information.

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