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Eccles Health Sciences Library Awarded $13.2 Million

Salt Lake City—The University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library has received two contracts worth $13.2 million from the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The first $3.7 million contract will make the library home to the country’s only NLM Training Center for the next five years. The second award, worth $9.5 million, renews the library’s five-year contract with the NLM to serve as the country’s MidContinental Regional Medical Library (MCRML).

“Both of these contracts underscore the critical role that the Eccles Health Sciences Library plays for both the region and the country,” said Jean Shipman, director of the library. “We’re pleased the National Library of Medicine has such confidence in our programs and services.” The MCRML is the only one of its kind in the Intermountain West and widely respected among health sciences libraries across the country. Its primary role is to serve the information needs of health professionals, librarians, and health consumers from across the region.

As the National Library of Medicine Training Center, the library will be responsible for providing training throughout the nation about NLM products and services, including PubMed® ( and TOXNET® ( Historically, the trainings were in-person classes, but with this contract, more emphasis will be placed on distance learning classes and online tutorials. The NTC’s main goals are to:

  • Support the effective use of NLM information products and services by health sciences librarians, public librarians, health professionals, and the public health workforce
  • Provide leadership to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) regions related to e-learning delivery methods and instructional best practices for adult learners.

As the MidContinental Regional Medical Library (MCRML), the library will continue its role serving a six-state region. This is third time since 2001 the library has had a five-year contract to serve as the MCRML.

“We are delighted to continue to work with librarians and their staff within our six-state region to promote NLM products and services and to ensure access for all to quality health information,” said Shipman. The six states include Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Within each of these states there are Resource Libraries that help carry out the program’s goals and support local librarians working under subcontracts. In the past five years, MCRML program staff helped train more than 10,000 users across the region.

Other activities include exhibiting NLM products at national health professional meetings, pushing health news through blogs, partnering with regional telehealth centers and community organizations, and facilitating the delivery of journal articles and books to libraries throughout the country.  Claire Hamasu serves as the Associate Director of the MidContinental Regional Medical Library program.

According to Shipman, future goals of the program will focus on new roles for health sciences librarians in the areas of e-science, patient safety, health information literacy, emergency preparedness, and knowledge management.  These new roles will increase the arenas where health sciences librarians can exhibit their expertise and use healthinformation resources developed by the National Library of Medicine to achieve the overall goal of the NN/LM program.