Tuesday, August 12, 2008

IFLA 2008 (part 8): Reading in hospitals & new technologies

A presentation, also from France, after this one (part 7).

This one was about a book lending service in Paris public hospitals.
Reading in hospitals & new technologies

The presenter, Ms. Claude Guerin, spoke in French. I copied what I could from her powerpoint which had accompanying English translations. Any factual mistakes are mine.

Some facts that I found interesting
  • There are 26 "hospital district agencies" and 3,000 health establishments (in Paris alone?)
  • One out of five (I'm not sure if it's in France or just Paris) are hospitalised each year
  • The reading initiative in hospitals arose from an inter-ministerial agreement; a "culture in hospitals agreement" (I found this PDF of a supplementary handout that was distributed at the session).
  • Reading was a "a significant social practice in hospitals"
  • System-wide, there was an average of 2,700 publications per hospital (a 5% increase; I'm not sure compared to when).
  • 95% of the collections books, 7% AV items, marginal number of electronic resources (note: these are just averages and scale varies from library to library)
  • Most collections are leisure-related (e.g. Fiction). Practically no health subjects
  • About 33% of hospitals have weekly carriages to rooms; 33% have a library within the hospital; 33% have a "book on request" service for patients via phone call to the hospital staff
  • 73% have volunteers to help in providing the service
  • 24% employ non-professional employees in hospitals
  • 2% employ trained librarians
  • 1% are assisted by librarians seconded from from public libraries
  • 32% of the hospitals are planning for multimedia workshops

Reading in hospitals & new technologies

From their experience, the public (i.e. patients) expects AV materials, digital resources, materials adapted for the elderly and disabled, documents on the consequences of diseases or on how to live a handicap.

Some libraries have started offering computers (for patients to use for work purposes and to email their family, search about pathologies, or search for convalescent homes)

One pediatric hospital provided laptops loaded with educational software. They let the child patient surf the net, email their parents or with other patients. Social networking among the kids!
Reading in hospitals & new technologies

My thoughts
Libraries in hospitals. Why not?!

The patients are a captive audience. I'm sure doing something constructive, like reading, while recuperating is a positive activity. Of course we'd want to avoid violent or depressing themes.

Learn a skill when recuperating in hospital. Booktalks. Book discussions...

Library services in hospitals can enhance the health care service in Singapore. It might come with a fee, depending on the scope of service. Or hospitals can work with public libraries who can offer outreach services which are currently free.

Perhaps co-funding between the MOH and MICA? Or even with MCYS if we're talking about the Class C wards. I can imagine HPB coming into the picture too.

The more I think about it, the more a browsing/ lending service in the hospital makes sense.

If I'm a non-reader, it might be a way to get back to reading. During the recuperation stage, recovering patients might want to know more about living with their health condition. Or maybe psychology-related books, like those on Positive Thinking.

Even if I'm a reader, the last thing I'd plan for a stay in the hospital are reading materials. Visiting relatives may not bring reading materials in for me.

Oh, the social networking aspect just sounds great. Imagine, patients logging in to the hospital library online portal, seeking fellow patients out, discussing their condition and experience in privacy and perhaps anonymity, with occasional moderation by qualified hospital staff.

Definitely an area to explore.

We'll see.

[Next: Part 9]

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