Information Services Librarian USC Los Angeles, California
Background: In 2017, the Health Sciences Libraries combined their ILS with the larger university library system’s. This integration led to several other transitions and reorganizations, including the 2018-2019 integration of the two standalone medical and dental library websites into a newly-designed university libraries’ site. The website integration challenged the Health Sciences Libraries to not only reorganize content and rethink services, but to conduct internal education about health sciences libraries’ roles and users to units that primarily serve undergraduate populations. How could one website speak to the needs of such a diverse range of users - from undergrads to clinical researchers?
Description: Initially, it was clear that there was little understanding of health sciences needs within the greater university libraries’ system. Health sciences librarians and staff established themselves as key stakeholders and partners with the website design project manager, allowing for them to have a big impact on the future direction of the entire project. This program focuses on external and internal communications strategies, change management during integration, and how to combine the best parts of very different systems into something new and better. Orienting around coherence for a wide range of users, the design process revealed further cultural and service differences among the libraries and areas for improvement in public services and collections management - not only their representation on the website, but the services themselves.
Conclusion: While a difficult transition, the overall project allowed for the libraries to work as a team in a time of change, creating a fresh approach for both internal and external users and an opportunity to rethink services. The Health Sciences Libraries staff learned to navigate the new organization and advocate for ourselves and our users. Ultimately, user comments and appreciation for the upgraded site were evidence that change can result in positive outcomes. Future projects include an ILL/Document Delivery service integration and creation of a libraries’ style guide for public facing communications (Libguides, video tutorials, and website content).