Category Archives: KM Stories

Stars to guide your way

Graham Breckon from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides us with an example an important role which libraries deliver within their organisations.

As library staff we often have a good working knowledge of the organisation, particularly with regard to departments, key contacts and internal processes.  We are often asked about this by staff or students who are new to the Trust and still trying to find their way around the organisation. I was working on the enquiry desk when a junior doctor approached and asked where the ‘Audit Department’ was.  I explained that, rather than having a dedicated Audit Department, each division in the Trust has a Clinical Governance Co-ordinator whose role includes assisting junior doctors with their mandatory responsibility to complete an audit. I directed the doctor to the appropriate Clinical Governance Co-ordinator so that the doctor could contact her and arrange to meet with her.

On the library desk we are often an approachable and accessible point of enquiry and are frequently asked these kinds of questions.  Although this is a small example, it’s an illustration of how the library service quite often helps to match the right person to the right knowledge.

Leader of the Pack

Lucy Anderson from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust tells us how keeping up with Twitter

has raised the profile of the knowledge service:

I keep up to date with Twitter and regularly read tweets from my Trust. I noticed that a service director had tweeted about how forward thinking one of our falls prevention teams is. I had just done a communication about horizon scanning bulletins and thought I would email him directly to make him aware of the Falls Prevention Horizon Scanning Bulletin.

This caught his interest and he came to see the Knowledge Service team to find out about what we do.

He was just setting up a team to produce ‘data packs’ to inform trust strategy developments. He could immediately see how we could fit in with this team.

The Knowledge Service was invited to be on a working group to produce the ‘data packs’. Accompanying us was Information and Performance, Communications and Finance.

The final ‘data pack’ informed a group of senior managers when they were discussing strategy and business plans. The ‘data pack’ team now know more about each other’s areas of expertise and feel at ease contacting each other. It was great for the Knowledge Service to get exposure with other services linked to Knowledge Management activities.

Equipment on trial

Matt Johnston a Knowledge Service Administrator from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust explains how visiting other teams and sharing objectives helps with improved referrals:

A therapy team who use the knowledge service to request articles and searches embarked on a project to trial some equipment. The team had limited experience of conducting equipment trials or how to evaluate in a structured way. In fact they were at a loss on how to begin the project. They contacted the Knowledge Service to see if they could provide any advice. I knew that the best team to speak to would be the Innovation & Research (I & R) Team. The Knowledge Service team had spent a day with the I & R team a few months ago to share our teams objectives, so I was confident that they could assist.

The Therapy Team Leader met with I & R; this resulted in the therapy team completing templates for their project and receiving advice about the methods they can use to evaluate and report results. The team are now embarking on a new project to reduce the incidence of repeat fallers and now know where to get the support they need.

Fancy a brew? Randomised Coffee Trials

Find out how Liz Hedgecock at Health Education North West (HENW) helped improve

organisational networking and understanding by simply going for a cup of coffee.  Liz explains the origins of the ‘Randomised Coffee Trial’ and her experiences of implementing a trial over on the Health Education NW blog.

Participants found it useful to support links between departments, build internal relationships, improve communication and staff engagement within the organisation.

The blog post also provides some useful reflections for the future rounds and some useful follow up reading.

No longer lost in translation

This is a story by Outi Pickering from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Our interlibrary service occasionally provides articles in languages other than English when a

library user is doing a review which must include other languages. Oxford being very international, our users often have colleagues who can help with some of the languages – but not always, and this is where the library has been able to help. I’m a native speaker of Finnish; in addition, I can call myself fluent in Swedish and Italian and competent in German. As these languages are related to others which may be called for (Dutch, Spanish, Danish come to mind), I’ve been able to decipher a number of different languages sufficiently to say whether for instance the article is about inpatients only, whether there was co-morbidity, etc. The agreement is that if I can provide the information within half an hour, it’s a value added service given by the library, but if more time is needed – particularly if a proper translation is needed – I put my freelance translator’s hat on and do the work in my spare time and the user pays for it. Outcome: satisfied users who spread the word that the library is a useful place! We’re not planning to take this any further though since the service depends on one individual (though there could be others, depending on who we employ!), and we don’t advertise it as part of our official “menu”.

On another similar theme, a Greek junior doctor asked if I knew of anyone who could help her with her English. She didn’t want a language school but an individual who could help her get the feel of the language at a deeper level, and besides, due to her work she couldn’t commit herself to a course. I said I know one – my husband! He is a retired university lecturer (English language, specialising in linguistics) and needs to feel useful and have contacts outside the home. They reached an agreement, and both parties were delighted. In addition to the lessons at our house which my husband provided, we often went out all three together, and were introduced to the doctor’s friends when they visited! She has now moved away from Oxford, but we’re still in touch with her occasionally.

KM Stories Reading List

Find out more about how to tell and use stories using the following web sites:

Brophy, P (2004) Narrative-based Librarianship This is a pre-publication version of a paper published in The area of information and social communication: Festschrift for Professor Wanda Pindlova. (Studies in Library and Information Science Vol. 10) Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2004. pp. 188-195.

Brophy, P (2009) Narrative-based Practice: Farnham, Ashgate.

Fuda, P (2014) 6 Principles for Communicating Your Story

Fuda, P (2014) 10 Benefits of Communicating Through Story

MindTools (2014) Business Storytelling: Using Stories to Inspire Available at: 

HBR Blog Network (2011) The art of purposeful storytelling Available at:

HBR Blog Network (2014) The irresistible power of storytelling as a strategic business tool Available at:

HBR Blog Network (2014) Using stories to persuade Available at:

HBR Blog Network (2014) How to tell a great story Available at:

NHS Improving Quality (2014) Learning Handbook: Storytelling Available at: 

Building bridges to improve patient care

Susan Smith from Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust talks about how her service had a direct impact on improving patient care by putting people in touch with each other.


Image: ‘Cafe con leche – Milchkaffee (CC)’ Found on

The library offers volunteers full membership of its services and the library is currently working with the group to develop a storytelling service on the wards. One day the volunteer manager, brought down one of the volunteers to join the library. She told me a tale of a patient with dementia she was assigned to and how communicating some of the most basic needs could be challenging. Later that day we had a visit from one of our regular Speech and Language Therapists (SLT) about the issue and she offered to provide picture boards to volunteers and family so patients could communicate if they wanted tea or coffee etc. This information was communicated to the volunteer’s manager who is now aware of the service and can direct volunteers if they have similar needs in the future.

Sharing knowledge to increase engagement

Susan Smith from Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust highlights how sharing her experiences from a conference with non-library colleagues helped her to make connections and raise the library profile.


Image: ‘Rainy Day / Found on


In February 2013, I attended the CILIP Umbrella Conference in Manchester.  Normally when I attend a conference I write up little articles on each talk and share around the library staff.  This time I spread the word to targeted colleagues within the Trust e.g. social media to the communications team, talk from the Information Commission to Integrated Governance and e-learning to Post Graduate, Practice Education Facilitators and Learning & Development.

In response to the shared learning, I received the usual thank you and some follow up questioning.  Integrated Governance however took it a stage further and asked me to present and discuss my views on the presentation with their Information Governance team.  At that point we weren’t embedded in the organisation and it helped provide an introduction to key people in the team and improve relations with them.  The actual project planned from the initial discussion fell through, but it still has improved library standing within the organisation.