LBA Profile: James R. Bulger, MLIS
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Editor’s Note: In response to reader request, we have added two new features to the DCDM Newsletter, which will appear in alternating months. In odd-numbered months, we will publish the profile of a member of Doody’s Library Board of Advisors (LBA), and in even-numbered months, we’ll feature an account of a library’s successful marketing launch of a new product or service.

The LBA has guided the development of our company’s library services since our inception. With gratitude, this month we present the profile of Jim Bulger of Allina Health.

LBA Profile: James R. Bulger, MLIS

I am the Manager of Library Services for Allina Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, with 12 hospitals and some 90 clinics. We provide library services to the entire system. We offer literature search services, document delivery, and access to online journals, books, and knowledge resources. Our central library is on the campus of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, with a satellite facility at United Hospital in St. Paul.

I started in medical librarianship in 1995, shortly after completing my MLIS. I’ve been at Allina since then, starting as Knowledge Consultant. I became manager in 2006. My kids were disappointed when I lost the impressive title and became just a “manager.”

The two most important issues facing medical librarianship. Hmmm…

  • Funding. This is a perennial issue, and I don’t see it getting any better. Hospitals, in particular, are currently facing an extremely tight squeeze, with declining reimbursements and galloping expenses. The shift to value-based care has health systems caught in the middle, at least for a time.
  • Changing user needs. We’ve worked hard to make resources available on a self-serve basis, creating A-Z lists, discovery tools, etc. And the knowledge resources we host have become increasingly user-friendly. While it’s true that no one point-of-care tool provides all the answers, it’s also true that library users can manage pretty well on their own. (We rarely do “training” anymore; there’s little need for it.) Our physical space is as busy as ever, but it’s with folks who are generally quite self-sufficient. Our statistics for online resource use continue to climb, while statistics for “service” (literature searches and document delivery) are flat or slowly declining.

Eileen Stanley, my predecessor, “volunteered” me for the Library Board of Advisors. At the time, I was heavily involved in collection management for our library. I used (and still do use) Doody’s Review Service a lot, and have been happy to be part of an advisory board that is given the opportunity for real input.

Librarians should know that Doody’s is in their corner. We tend, as a lot, to be skeptical of vendors. Doody’s services really are “for” libraries and librarians.

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