Emerging roles and activities of health sciences librarians: a literature review, 2004

Change across the educational landscape has been greatly influenced by demographic shifts, economic instability and technological advances. As globalization gains momentum fueled by social media tools enabling ease of access to information source the immediate effect has impacted work environments around the world. As librarians are considered as guardians of information new trends like open source concepts, digital revolution and new knowledge sharing initiatives have impacted job roles greatly. The purpose of this review is to focus on the health science librarian to identify how jobs have been re-engineered to enhance the role of health science librarians. Studies show that Medical and Health Science programmes are taking initiatives to introduce health information literacy skills into the curriculum (Cooper & Crum, 2013) whereby the role of librarians has moved beyond routine orientation sessions to curriculum integrated literacy sessions throughout the academic year. Objective: In this paper we will establish emerging roles of the health science librarian. Understand how new re-cast job roles have changed visible work activities, tasks and responsibilities. Determine how librarians are developing the capacity to take on the blended roles in order to move from information disseminators to information creators. Method/Approach: A systematic review of literature was conducted using LISTA, SCOPUS, Emerald, Academic Search Complete and Medline. A definite time period from 2004 to 2014 was defined to determine how Health Science librarianship has transformed over the years. Conclusion: The roles of health sciences librarians continue to emerge as our practices change to support the needs of the clientele.


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  • Received: 29 March 2016
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