The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland Satisfaction Survey 2018

Many thanks to all of our members who responded to the 2018 Satisfaction Survey. We value your feedback and comments. It is encouraging to hear what we are getting right and important to hear what we are not doing so well. As with previous surveys, comments (as detailed below) about the service are overwhelmingly positive.

  • The access to a reliable source of information which is known to be from reliable sources.
  • I enjoy having a library in the first place!
  • Excellent staff – helpful and knowledgeable and respond quickly to any requests.
  • I really appreciated the training provided in learning how to conduct literature searches / use databases – it was excellent, very relevant and tailored specifically to my learning needs.
  • The librarians are a real asset and support in finding information. Nothing is too much of a bother to them.
  • Any requests I have submitted are actioned immediately and staff take time to work through which systems may be best to use for a literature search.

The Library is continually endeavouring to raise its profile through various means.  Within the last year a series of pop-up libraries were delivered across key hospital sites in canteen areas to promote the service to staff.  This will continue this year visiting different sites including some community based locations as well as hospital sites.  In addition the Library endeavours to ensure both QUB and UU graduating students are made aware of The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland and when possible we attend Trust inductions, changeover events and profession specific conferences.

If there are particular events that you would like the Library to attend please contact your specialist librarian.

We would also like to take the opportunity to respond to some of the comments, suggestions or less positive feedback, which can be grouped into the following themes:

Location and access to The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at the RVH, including car parking:

The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at the RVH is located in the Mulhouse Building on the Royal Victoria Hospital site. It is accessible on foot, by car or by using the free shuttle bus running between the Belfast City Hospital site and the Royal Victoria Hospital site. Use of the car parks and the cost of car parking is controlled by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and is outside of the Library’s control.

The study environment at The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at the RVH, and at QUB Medical Biology Centre:

Significant investment has been made in order to improve the study environment at the two main Belfast based Healthcare Libraries. Further plug points were installed in the main study areas across both sites. Group Study Room 3 in the Healthcare Library at the RVH has been upgraded to bring it in line with other available study rooms on that site. The Healthcare Library at QUB Medical Biology Centre was re-carpeted during the summer 2018, and is pending a further upgrade to facilities, anticipated for the summer 2019.

Opening Hours at The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at the RVH:

The decision to reduce the opening hours from September 2017 was made because of the extremely low usage of the Healthcare Library in the evenings and Saturday mornings. Before making the change, we analysed entry data to the Library on weekdays after 5.30pm, and on Saturday mornings over a 2 year period. This showed that there were never more than 3 or 4 people in the Building during those times. In addition to this, in May 2017, we surveyed many users of the Library, including almost 4,000 HSC staff in the Belfast and South Eastern Trusts. The majority of respondents said they did not use (and did not intend to use) The Healthcare Library at the RVH in the evening or on a Saturday. We try to meet the needs of all our customers, including those who like to use the Library outside normal working hours. However, we need to balance this against the need to use resources effectively, and unfortunately, the small numbers did not justify the resources required to keep the Building open.

Access to other QUB Libraries:

HSC members of The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland are entitled to access the QUB McClay Library. In order to gain entry, you must have a valid HSC library card.  If you did not receive one when taking out membership of the Healthcare Library, please contact the Library by emailing and request a card. A library card will be generated and posted out to your work address.

Unfortunately, due to licensing restrictions, HSC members of the Library are not able to access QUB electronic resources, and are advised to access resources applicable to them through The Healthcare Library website.

Charges and fines:

Fines and charges can be paid in cash, cheque or, in some branches, by credit / debit card. Cheques should be made payable to Queen’s University Belfast. Credit or debit cards can also be used to make a payment online, through My Account facility on the Healthcare Library website.

Books borrowed from the Library should be returned by the due date. A book will be overdue if kept beyond this date and will incur a fine. Fines will apply for books that are overdue at a cost of 10p per day, increasing to 20p per day for items that are overdue and have been requested by another reader. An invoice will be issued for the replacement cost of the book plus an administrative charge if the reader fails to return the book within an agreed time after its due date.

The Library recommends the use of the My Account facility in order to keep on top of when items are due back with the Library.

There is no charge for the reader for requesting a book or article, even if we have to request this from an external institution or organisation.

Joining the Library as an HSC member

Staff delivering health and social care in Northern Ireland are eligible for Healthcare Library membership.  You can register using the online membership form. When you submit an online registration form, you will receive a verification email. Click on the verify email link to complete the registration process. Your login details (username and password) will be emailed to you once the Library has completed the registration process.

Access to resources

Library members log in to online resources (from work or home), through the Library website, by using their individual library number as their username and the password provided by the library.  There should not be any difference in what you are able to access regardless of where you are accessing it.  The Library does not use the Athens method of accessing its resources so having this would not enable our members to access any additional resources.  

Clinicalkey app should work on Android devices however the supplier is aware of ongoing problems with the app on Apple devices and is currently working with its developers to resolve this issue. 

If you are having problems accessing any of the Library’s resources please report the issue by emailing so we can investigate and endeavour to get a resolution as soon as possible.

Availability of resources

The Library receives a set budget allocation from the Department of Health and as such is constrained in the amount of resources which can be purchased.  We endeavour to have a range of journals available full text to current and do keep these under review.   For journal titles that cannot be accessed you can sign up to Zetoc Alerts which will alert you to the table of contents for each new issue of specified journals.  If there is a specific article you need you can use the Place request service and we will provide a copy of the article.  There is no charge for this service.

The Library is aware that UpToDate is a very popular resource which is unfortunately not accessible via the Library.  The purchase of this resource would require significant investment and collaboration between all the Trusts as the Library is currently unable to cover the cost within its existing budget allocation.  We are currently working with the Department to explore opportunities to purchase this resource.

If you have any queries about the availability of resources or how to make best use of the resources available please contact your specialist librarian.

Availability of e-books

The Library is expanding the availability of individual e-books when this format is available and when the e-book version is suitable.  In addition the Library has recently purchased various e-book packages

If you would like to see a particular book available in Library stock, in print or as an e-book please contact your specialist librarian. For example, one of comments on the survey mentioned additional Art Therapy and Psychotherapy material.  We have noted this request and will endeavour to acquire more books on these topics.

Help and advice

If you are visiting any branch of The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland and need assistance, please ask a member of library staff, who will be happy to assist you.

There is also a variety of online help that is available to you:

You can also contact your local branch or your specialist librarian for help and advice, training sessions and literature searches.

The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at Antrim Area Hospital


The staffing in The Healthcare Library at Antrim Area Hospital was affected by sick leave and by the resignation of a staff member at the same time. The library staffing is back to almost full capacity now and interviews are being held soon for the replacement post.

Longer Opening Hours:

It would be difficult to accommodate longer / extended opening hours without significant investment in staffing. The Library budget at present would not be able to provide for this. The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland website can be accessed 24/7.

Resources (Print):

The book budget for The Healthcare Library at Antrim Area Hospital is fully spent each year. If there is a specific subject area that needs updating, please contact the Librarian in the Healthcare Library in Antrim who is open to suggestions for stock. Books borrowed from the Library in Antrim can be returned via the Northern Health and Social Care Trust internal post. A number of e-books are available via the Healthcare Library website to all registered members.

PC equipment:

There has been a recent upgrade of the computers in The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at Antrim Area Hospital. The number of computers is controlled by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and is outside of the Library’s control.

The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at Craigavon Area Hospital

Longer Opening Hours:

The Healthcare Library at Craigavon Area Hospital can only be open when there is library staff available to provide library services, and unfortunately it is not possible to extend the current opening hours. However it is possible to use the Library computer rooms and reading room for study and to access the online resources 24/7. If you would like to use these rooms after 9pm, please use either your Southern Health and Social Care Trust staff swipe card to open the door, or contact the porters for admission. You must present either staff or student ID to the porters to gain admission.

Study Facilities:

The Healthcare Library at Craigavon Area Hospital recently increased the number of individual study desks, maximising the space available. There is also a further reading room located beside the Library which has further study spaces available.


If there is a specific subject area that you feel needs updating, please contact the Librarian in the Healthcare Library in Craigavon who is open to suggestions for stock. Books and articles can be requested online using the Place Request facility. Articles will be emailed or posted to your work address. It may be possible for books to be posted and returned using the internal mail but please contact The Healthcare Library at Craigavon Area Hospital for advice.

Noise Levels:

It is difficult to do anything about construction noise on site especially if the windows are open. Regular cleaning staff are aware of the importance of cleaning before the Library is open, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible when there is relief domestic staff covering the cleaning rota. It is outside the control of the Library.

The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland at Altnagelvin Area Hospital

Study facilities:

There are plans in the near future for the library to be refurbished.

Temperature within the Library:

We are aware of the importance regarding having the best environment for study, and an important element to this is to ensure the library is adequately heated. If staff are made aware that the library feels cold, we will be responsive to our library users and will ensure the heating is turned up.

Refreshment area:

A business case was submitted recently for a coffee dock area to be located just outside of the Library but due to financial reasons unfortunately this was not approved.

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