In 1976 the Canadian Interest Group of the Medical Library Association and the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services united to create the Canadian Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada (CHLA/ABSC).
Today CHLA/ABSC is a Canada-wide professional organization of approximately 300 individuals in the health sciences library field. Membership comprises hospital librarians and information professionals in various health-library related fields affiliated with academic institutions, government, and special libraries.
The CHLA/ABSC Strategic Plan of 2014-2018 focused on three over-arching strategic objectives:
- Ensure that the Association remains viable
- Implement CHLA/ABSC member-sourced solutions
- Strengthen the capacities of health information professionals
Over the past four years, the Association has achieved a number of successes: annual convening of high quality conferences, including a well-received conference in partnership with the Medical Library Association (US); strengthening partnerships with other associations; launching a refurbished website; instigating new supports for Chapters; providing strong Association management support and enhancing communications with Chapters and their members.
In 2017 the CHLA/ABSC board embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning process that engaged members, Chapters, partners, and leading thinkers in the health library field. This broad planning, coupled with professional guidance and oversight, made it possible to refresh CHLA/ABSCs vision and mission statements; as well as to create a new strategic plan for the next three years that identifies priorities and specifies where we will direct our energies.
Vision and Mission
The Association aspires to build a community of Canadian Health Library and Information professionals who are valued partners in the improvement of health, health care, research, and education.
We advocate for and promote the value and importance of high-quality health library and information services. We inspire and support our members professional and leadership development, knowledge sharing, and partnerships.
Strategic Directions and Goals
Key Strategic Directions
- Build competencies: professional and leadership development
- Promote knowledge transfer
- Demonstrate value/advocacy of health sciences librarianship
- Advance the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- Strengthen the Associations infrastructure and communications
- Build Competencies: Professional and Leadership Development Goals:
- Strengthen accessibility of educational offerings through on-line and virtual options, joint conferences, leveraging partner education programs, and supporting travel
- Develop and deliver content on the business of libraries (e.g., key business processes, collection development, guidance for solo librarians, and libraries without experienced librarians)
- Explore the possibility of creating a comprehensive, multi-year leadership curriculum
- Promote current educational specialty offerings (e.g., systematic reviews, critical appraisal) for delivery to professionals and information specialists in other health fields (e.g., nursing, medicine, primary care)
- Review need and opportunity for mentoring
- Promote Knowledge Transfer Goals:
- Build a knowledgebase of health information best practices, including a toolkit of impact measures, success stories, case studies, and documented standards
- Continue efforts to keep members abreast of environmental trends and to advise how they can meet these challenges
- Define information literacy in the context of the Association and its members work; link information literacy to education and other Association activities
- Explore opportunities for knowledge management of data from electronic health records
- Support and encourage special interest groups to compile and share information on practices broadly; encourage networking with information specialists in other professions
- Expand and refine the mechanisms for sharing knowledge e.g., our websites, listservs, newsletters, as well as the Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association.
- Demonstrate Value /Advocacy Goals:
- Review and update Standards for Library and Information Services in Canadian Healthcare Facilities
- Prepare and promote new tools and information resources on the value of health information services and professionals for broad audiences
- Broadly share advocacy materials created by members for use in their own institutions
- Advance the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Goals:
- Officially adopt an Indigenous Protocol for use at board meetings and the annual conference and provide guidance for members who wish to create protocols specific to where they live.
- Form a task force with the mandate of advancing Calls to Action as they pertain to Canadian health librarianship
- Collect and make available a list of members organizations responses and initiatives addressing the Calls to Action
- Strengthen the Association Infrastructure and Communications
- Assess the organizational structure, governance, membership structure, relationships with Chapters, and financial model
- Explore funding opportunities from new sources; e.g., grants to fund new communities of practice and new mission-focused initiatives
- Expand communications strategies to ensure broader reach and more timely communications
Beck C, Mason J. Aller en avant! Moving forward! Results of the CHLA/ABSC 2013 Membership Survey. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association/Journal de l'Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada. 2014 Dec 1;35(3):133-46.Crawford D. CHLA/ABSC 25 years on. Bibliotheca Medica Canadiana. 2000;22(2):7173.