Information Needs among Genetic Counselors
Anderson, Margaret J.
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QUESTION: Faced with collection decisions that impacted genetic counselors, how can the library continue to best serve their needs? SETTING: Large urban academic medical center and its library. Method: Recent electronic resource cancellations impacted some genetic counselors. The library's outreach unit took the lead in finding alternative resources for these clients. This was an excellent opportunity to investigate the information needs of these clients and use those data to develop classes tailored to their needs. Some counselors had already contacted the library, and others were targeted using human resources contacts, campus directories, and word of mouth. MAIN RESULTS: Eight clients were identified. Five participated in tailored educational activities offered by the library. Genetic counselors in this environment do not comprise a uniform profile. They have different titles in different departments, work in different locations, and have variable amounts of time to counsel patients and research conditions. They require resources beyond MEDLINE, including smaller databases developed in other countries, of which many libraries may not be aware. These counselors were also eager to investigate automated alert services. Additionally, they offered valuable feedback on the collection. CONCLUSION: With increasing national emphasis on the hereditary basis of disease, libraries should be aware of the needs of genetic counselors and strive to support them. Engaging these professionals and documenting their feedback positions the library to serve them better.