Hello everyone,

This is a bit of a late ‘new starter’ post, as I actually started all the way back at the beginning of February! In my defence, it has been a very strange year…

My name is Kathryn Aylward and I’m the new Assistant Librarian at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. I’m primarily based in York, but in more normal times I also regularly travel to our Scarborough site. Coming back to York is a little bit like coming home for me, as I did my undergraduate degree at the University of York. This is my second job in the NHS – in my previous role I worked as the Graduate Librarian for the Luton and Dunstable hospital. I really enjoy working for the NHS because I like feeling that my work is making a difference: whether that’s supporting a student with an assignment, teaching a nurse how to search the databases, or providing a literature search to help a physio update a guideline.

One of my projects when I started was to co-ordinate Health Information Week (6th-12th July 2020). This year, Health Information Week had two themes: ‘finding information you can trust’ and ‘wellbeing’. The Library team had to make quite a few changes to our plans due to social distancing guidelines, but with a little bit of creativity and some hard work, we still managed to have a very successful week!

The first theme was ‘wellbeing’, which the Library team had a lot of fun promoting. Our main activities were a recipe competition and the launch of our new ‘Reading for Wellbeing’ Virtual Book Group. We had 9 entries into the recipe competition, featuring all different types of food. Our winning recipe was for vegan meringues with coconut cream. Second prize was scooped by a recipe for Alfaham chicken with ghee rice. Each lucky winner received a library-branded canvas tote bag filled with delicious wellbeing treats, including tea and coffee, biscuits, and chocolate! The library has created a recipe book from all the submissions, which is now available in the library, and a set of individual recipe cards which are freely available for users to take away.

The Virtual Book Group ran for the first time on Wednesday 8th July and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the attendees. The library team created the Virtual Book Group with the aim of promoting staff wellbeing and helping staff to socialise in a socially distant way, especially those who are shielding or working from home. We have had three meetings so far and the group is going from strength to strength! Our next book is ‘Notting Hill Carnival: A West Side Story’ by Candice Carty-Williams.

To celebrate the second theme, ‘finding information you can trust’, Jan Godwin, our Clinical Librarian, ran two virtual training sessions. Jan’s first session discussed the best resources for finding accurate and up-to-date evidence quickly and easily, including the NICE website, TRIP Database, and point-of-care tools such as BMJ Best Practice. For the second session, we reached out to local public librarians in the York and Scarborough areas to offer training on health literacy. Despite some technical difficulties, Jan was able to deliver a really engaging and thought-provoking session.

Health Information Week will return in July 2021 and the Library team are already thinking about how to make it even bigger and better than this year, so please keep an eye out for more news from York!

Kathryn Aylward
Assistant Librarian, Library
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust