CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Julia Green, NHS Health Scotland

Category: Blog, Meet our Members

This blog is part of our Meet our Members series, focusing on different members and their careers.

My name is Julia Green and I am the Knowledge Services Manager at NHS Health Scotland. This is a small national health board with a specific remit to reduce health inequalities and improve population health. The Knowledge Services team provides a range of knowledge support services to NHS Health Scotland and those with a public health role in Scotland. In addition to myself, we have four Public Health Librarians and a Knowledge Services Assistant.

Following a service review in 2011, the model for delivery of Knowledge Services at Health Scotland shifted from a traditional library model with a physical library space, to a more agile model, free from the restrictions of managing and maintaining a physical space. This allowed the team to be physically more integrated with the rest of the organisation, sitting alongside colleagues in open-plan offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as allowing team members to meet with colleagues more easily to discuss projects, and the role of the team in various pieces of work. We are also more integrated within the organisation’s business planning cycle, with both team development plans and knowledge support requests logged at the start of the year. This allows the team to plan its workload more effectively.

Much of the team’s work consists of delivering evidence search and summary services to colleagues, undertaking in-depth searches of formally published and grey literature to inform evidence briefings and reviews designed to inform and influence policy and practice, or presenting summaries of evidence to inform working groups, networks, professional groups etc. We also provide information skills training, current awareness services, advice on copyright and information management issues and lending and document supply, as well as providing and facilitating access to a wide range of information and knowledge resources.

My role in the team is more strategic and involves building new working relationships with different teams and sectors, and considering new ways of working, such as developing a stronger corporate knowledge management role and advising on methods and tools to promote improved knowledge sharing and capture. I have also jointly developed a community of practice with colleagues to promote skills development, provide knowledge-sharing opportunities and to advocate for information professionals working in the field of public health in Scotland.

The Knowledge Services network in NHS Scotland is strong and we work closely with colleagues on shared projects and to take a ‘once for Scotland’ approach to services and systems, where appropriate.

The service is at an exciting moment currently, as next year we will be forming part of a new national body, Public Health Scotland, which comes into being on 1st April 2020. The focus of the new organisation will be outward-looking, with a strong cross-sectoral vision and collaborative approach, and the new Knowledge Service will be expected to reflect this view. I have therefore been working with colleagues to ensure that Public Health Scotland Knowledge Services will be developed in a way that will allow us to deliver effective support for this approach, encouraging and facilitating the effective use of knowledge in order to influence policy and practice in Scotland.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about a career in health librarianship I would be happy to discuss the opportunities and challenges for librarians in this sector in further detail. You can contact me via email or Twitter.