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Archive 2009 Impact Toolkit

The current Knowledge for Healthcare Value & Impact Toolkit can be found on the KfH Blog


As the NHS faces several years of financial stringency and organisational disruption, libraries are going to have to prove their value to management decision makers if they are to command adequate resources to allow them to offer a service to Trust members of staff.

Libraries should able to prove that the services they provide have an ultimate impact upon patient care. The impact toolkit provides a template for gathering qualitative and quantitative evidence to support the case for library services in the NHS.

This toolkit was funded in 2009 by the former NHS South Central and the former National Library for Health and has modified, extended and simplified a toolkit developed in 2007 by the University of Aberystwyth. 

The intention of the toolkit is that it should be adapted by librarians to meet their particular needs and the circumstances of their Trust. While there is an element of quantitative data collection, the toolkit also allows library users to ‘tell a story’ and provide telling narrative demonstrating the added value of library information services and their impact upon staff development, upon individual cases and current practice, leading to improved patient care.

These tools have been tested and refined in the former NHS South Central (in particular, in Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust), and are available to health librarians across the country to ‘adopt and adapt’.

Using the toolkit

The toolkit comprises four components which can be used independently or ‘mixed and matched’. Each component includes templates and brief guidance notes.

We have also included the reports of the surveys and interviews conducted in the former NHS South Central, and links to other resources that you may find helpful.

Additionally members (please login) have access to the resources from the SHALL commissioned Calculating and Demonstrating Value of NHS Library and Information Services course members section of the website.


If you use the resources in this toolkit, we would welcome your feedback.

What does the toolkit include?

A - An online survey 

This will provide quantitative data on patterns of information use, and the reasons for use or non-use of the services of qualified librarians, and provide summary data indicating the impact of information services on patient care.

B - Semi-structured one-to-one interviews 

These will provide rich qualitative data. They allow probing to discover ‘unconscious’ use of services provided through the library, such as on-line journal subscriptions, and to seek out narrative that demonstrates the impact of information provision on patient care.

C - A case study template 

This could be placed on a website, e-mailed to individuals, or handed out in person and provides the opportunity for service users to provide narrative on the impact of information and library services. It is much less labour intensive and easier to organise than interviews, but relies on a positive response.

D - A questionnaire for the recipients of mediated literature searches 

This is designed to find out about the impact of mediated literature searches. It provides quantitative data and the opportunity for service users to outline narrative on service impact.

E - A questionnaire for the recipients of information skills/literacy training 

This is designed to gather feedback about the impact of library-delivered training sessions. It has been developed and tested by the NHS West Midlands Regional Trainers Forum.

See for contact details.


1. London Health Libraries ‘Alignment Toolkit’ :

Is a portfolio of case studies that illustrates both how health libraries are aligned with the priorities of the NHS and fulfill the purposes of health libraries.

2. MAP: Making Alignment a Priority for health libraries:

This is a development by 8 librarians in the North West and builds on the work of the London Health Libraries 'Alignment Toolkit' and helps answer the following questions:

  • Can you identify the key drivers for change that are influencing your NHS organisation and its decision-making?

  • Do you want to demonstrate how your library service is aligned to the priorities of the NHS?

  • Do you need help critically highlighting how your library adds value and impacts upon organisational change, policy and practice?

You can download a flyer about MAP

3. SCA ‘Audience Analysis Toolkit’:

This provides resources and case studies to help staff in public sector organisations research users and potential users of digital services and resources in particular, but equally useful for other types of library services.

4. Libraries and their contribution to the health and wellbeing of the population: A Literature Review by NHS Lambeth Public Health Directorate - September 2011

The aim was to review the evidence of the contribution of libraries to the health and wellbeing of a local population so as to contribute to the Lambeth Libraries Commission as it seeks to identify a future model of service provision for the Lambeth Library Service.

A search of medical and social sciences databases, the grey literature (ie reports and papers not published in peer reviewed journals) and relevant websites were searched using key terms. The search was confined to the English language publications from the year 2000 onwards. Literature was rapidly appraised rather than using systematic review methods. The focus was on the wider literature rather than local examples of good practice. This was mainly because it is presumed that the Libraries Commission would receive evidence from other sources on local activities.

5. Measuring value and impact: from theory to practicalities

Workshop by Christine Urquhart and Alison Brettle at HLG 2012

Page Updated 24th June 2016