Communicating with medical library users during COVID-19




Marketing and Communications, Medical Libraries, Communication Plan, COVID-19, Remote Services and Resources


Background: The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library serves a community of over 22,000 individuals primarily from the Yale Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing and the Yale New Haven Hospital. Though they are geographically close to one another, reaching these disparate populations can be a challenge. Having a clear and thorough communication plan has proved invaluable in transcending communication chasms, especially in recent times of crisis.

Case Presentation: This article describes the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library’s methods for communicating and promoting its remote resources and services in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It details our communication strategies and messages leading up to, and after, the Yale campus was closed and specifies how we pivoted from reaching users inside the library to reaching our audiences remotely.

Conclusions: Our communication plan has provided the foundation for all of our messaging, be it print or digital media. In recent moments of crisis, it has been especially helpful for planning and executing large scale messaging. Similarly, knowing whom to contact around our organization to promote our message in different and broader ways has been extremely beneficial.

 This article has been approved for the Medical Library Association’s Independent Reading Program.

Author Biography

Dana Haugh, Web Services Librarian, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Dana Haugh is the web services librarian at Yale’s Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library where she leads the design and front-end development of the library’s web presences. Additionally, she design promotional materials and graphics for print and digital media. Her research interests include web design and development, marketing and outreach in libraries, open access, and information literacy. She received a master’s of library science (MLS) from Queens College and bachelor’s of arts in English from Stony Brook University.


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Case Report