No one can deny the devastating impact of COVID-19, and the effect this has had on the NHS. The library environment has adapted with the introduction of sanitation stations and the installation of screens and individual pods. Where possible, services have become virtual and social media has become a vehicle for communication and engagement with colleagues.

We’ve also seen changes to the Library and Knowledge Services team here at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (HUTH) for many other reasons. As the Information and eResources Trainer, I’m used to visiting sites and meeting staff face-to-face. Meetings are now virtual and I have relaunched our Twitter account as a way of keeping staff informed of all things libraries. I’ve had to find more subtle ways to express my love of Disney (yes, the title is a Disney reference and no, I’m not sorry). Due to retirement, the team looks very different. We’ve lost years of knowledge and experience, but gained new ideas and perspectives that have led to so many exciting opportunities.

With the involvement in the national Evidence for Quality Improvement Project (E4QI), stronger links have been forged with the Trust Quality Improvement Team. This led to the team becoming involved in the Trust response to COVID, helping staff quickly access the latest guidance. With this increased profile the LKS team are now involved in strategic projects aligned with the Trust strategy objectives. These include:

• Our Voices, a Trust initiative focusing on building an equal, diverse and inclusive culture
• Productivity Working Group, tasked with the reduction in backlog as a result of COVID-19
• Patient Safety Working Group, providing evidence for serious investigations and supporting staff training
• UP, a Trust scheme supporting the health and wellbeing of staff.

With lots of other ideas also in the planning stages, it’s safe to say we are busy!

On the one hand, being the newest member of staff, this has been invaluable for my learning. The team dynamic has shifted and momentum is now building. On the other, I can’t help but feel something has been lost in the move to a more virtual world.

That personal touch that libraries have is so vital, especially during hard times as these. I’m hopeful for a future where we can rebuild those human connections. Thinking about all of you who I have met so far, humanness, kindness is in abundance, so I know libraries will be at the forefront.

Nicky Ward
Information and eResources Trainer
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust