On display in the library office is the following quote:

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu (Philosopher, 6th Century BC.)

Salutary advice considering the many changes that have occurred over the past year!


The library was closed from the end of March to mid-April. Home working was not a viable option for the library team, so we worked onsite providing ‘virtual’ support to users and other libraries when and where possible. Requests for evidence searches increased and there was an increase in the use of eBooks.

During closure the team worked on a ‘Reclassification Project’ (changing from NLM to DDC) in readiness for migration (mid-June) to a new shared library management system.

Reclassification Project
Books, books everywhere!
An over-worked labelling machine …
Countless broken finger nails …
Coffee … and more coffee …
All definitely worth all the effort.


We shared the library space with the wider Organisation Development team enabling the setting up of a ‘distribution centre’ for donations received from a variety of companies, and space was set aside for use as a ‘break out’ area for staff.

The ‘Library Warehouse’ Reclassification Project
7,000 Easter Eggs were donated to the Trust! 
A selection of leisure wear 
A mountain of reusable water bottles! 
Coffee … and more coffee … 
All greatly appreciated by Trust staff. 

Currently, the library has resumed normal opening hours and most services are up and running, but there are limits on the number of users who can access the library at any one time due to social distancing restrictions.


North Tees Knowledge & Information Service operates with a small team comprising of two members of staff. Debbie Elliott took up post as Librarian in June 2019. Library Officer, Carl Higgins, was awarded Health Libraries North ‘Star of the Year’ in December 2019 in recognition of his contribution to maintaining the service during the vacancy prior to the appointment of a new Librarian. Well done Carl!

Health Libraries North (HLN) ‘Star of the Year’ Award
presented to Carl Higgins by Joanne Naughton LKS Development Manager HEE
at HLN Study Day, December 2019


We launched our new library strategy in February 2020 which is aligned to the overall strategy of the Trust, setting our aims and objectives for period 2020-22. We continued to develop services which are ‘digital by default’, and refreshed our collection development policy to reflect set objectives. We targeted the promotion of our large eBook collection and produced QR Code bookmarks spanning a range of titles. This allowed borrowers quick scan access to eBooks, or if preferred, bookmarks could be taken away, for future remote use.

QR Code Bookmarks


Collection Development
As part of the preparation for the migration to a new LMS, we updated and reorganised our print collection. This provided us with the opportunity to tailor our collections to meet the needs of specific users groups. We now have separate, up to date and expanded Undergraduate and Examination collections, allowing quick and easy access to key resources.


A Marketing Strategy 2019-21 and accompanying Marketing Plan helped us carry out a range of promotional activities designed to help raise the profile of the library more widely across the Trust. Improved signage helped to increase the library’s visibility. A new ‘Reading for Pleasure’ fiction collection set up utilising space outside the library proved to be very popular and raised interest in other services on offer by the library. Networking opportunities outside the library enabled us to acquire a collection of pastel pictures drawn and donated by a retired Consultant from the Trust. The pictures not only enhance the library environment, but they also generated publicity for the Trust. A key initiative was the development of the library SharePoint site. We refreshed the web pages, made the site more user friendly and created a ‘KIS Bites’ blog to advertise new developments. Currently, we are working towards gaining a greater presence on the Trust website.

Reading for Pleasure Collection


Books with a ‘spooky’ theme


 Valentine’s Day
‘Love is all around’ books


Health & Wellbeing
We extended our Health & Wellbeing offer for the library by providing a ‘relaxation’ area with comfy seating situated next to the ‘Mood Boosting’ book collection. We hope to develop this area further over the coming year. The challenge set for the Library Officer was to develop skills in ‘Origami’ and produce art work which could be incorporated into a display!

Carl has perfected his technique!

The library’s ‘Mood Boosting’ book collection

User Engagement
Whatever method used – ‘chocolate’ is the answer! This year we introduced our ‘Happiness Postcards’ as a tool to engage with our customers and to collect their views and feedback on the services and resources we provide. The reward – and no doubt incentive – for the library user was a delicious ‘posh choc’! The reward for us was the comment(s) received – good or bad – they helped us to review and evaluate the services we provide, and contributed to the overall continuous service improvement process. We implemented a number of small but effective changes based on comments received, including fixing a wall mounted iPad next to the self-service machine for dedicated and quick access to the library catalogue. We replaced old worn PC keyboards making it easier for users to type. We purchased trifold smart cases for the self-issue iPads making them more user-friendly and comfortable to use and we included a ‘what’s new’ section on the library SharePoint site to enable users to access the latest information in one place.


It has certainly been a busy year and we have experienced a lot of change! But, as we go back to finding a ‘new normal’ in the way we deliver Knowledge and Information Services, we will undoubtedly need to continue to change and adapt to the world around us. Looking to the future, I for one, will be keeping Lao Tzu’s ‘words of wisdom’ on my library office wall – even if it transforms into being a ‘virtual’ one!

Debbie Elliott
Librarian | Knowledge & Information Service
Ground Floor, South Wing | North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
T: 01642 624789| E: deborah.elliott12@nhs.net