Creating value through outreach in a hospital setting: a case study from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Library


  • Jill Barr-Walker ZSFG Library, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Iesha Nevels ZSFG Library, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA



Outreach, Health Fairs, Hospital Libraries


Background: Hospital libraries must often demonstrate value to users who are not aware of their services. Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) Library aimed to increase patient and staff awareness using innovative outreach methods through our involvement in a Summerfest health fair and a National Medical Librarians Month event.

Case Presentation: At 2 hospital events, ZSFG Library staff and volunteers used a gameshow-style approach involving active learning to teach attendees about library resources and services. Across events, there were 300 attendees and 167 in-depth discussions of library resources with the librarian (i.e., meaningful interactions), including 54 demonstrations. After implementing these new outreach efforts, the number of attendees increased by over 240% and meaningful interactions increased by 1,300% from the previous year’s event. Our value analysis indicates an overall positive effect with 14 minutes of total library staff time spent per meaningful interaction.

Conclusions: The use of a spinnable wheel for asking participants library-related questions and a television monitor to demonstrate library resources greatly increased the number of attendees and fostered new staff connections, resulting in several in-service trainings and search requests. Future recommendations for outreach events include enlisting the help of volunteers to record attendance data, creating materials in multiple languages, and integrating library involvement into existing hospital events. These recommendations may decrease the amount of library staff time spent in return for each meaningful interaction, creating increased value for less time.


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Case Report