Member Spotlight: St. Barnabas Hospital Library


Led by Director Deborah Bonelli, St. Barnabas Hospital Library provides information services to medical staff and employees of St. Barnabas Hospital and offsite clinics. Its facilities measure at 2,500 square feet and feature wifi access throughout. Patrons can make use of a computer lab, eight study carrels, and study rooms capable of supporting small groups. In addition to assisting with reference and research requests, the library is equipped to print posters, laminate signs, edit video, and digitize video. Reinaldo Rodriquez, Electronic Resources Coordinator, and Joan Sherman, Library Assistant, round out the staff of three.


Tea with Dr. Cooper, photo courtesy of Deborah Bonelli

In support of its lending program for laptop computers and other media equipment, the library developed a successful Lunch and Learn program. These sessions are well attended by administrative assistants, who often act as a proxy for information seekers. At Lunch and Learn, participants take a tour of the library and discuss services on offer. This is followed by a question and answer period over lunch. These workshops generate much positive feedback; one participant noted that the Lunch and Learn was "a constructive hour."

In 2006, the library started a program to use revenue from overdue fees to support a program called "A Taste of Home for the Holidays." Each year, employees donate food items, toiletries, paperbacks, and DVDs to troops deployed to combat zones. This act of goodwill expands the reach of St. Barnabas Hospital and is greatly appreciated by the recipients.

A capstone achievement led by library staff, Tea with Dr. Cooper (the hospital's CEO) has made a significant contribution to the Baptist Leadership program now in place at the hospital.  Each quarter, hospital administration and a group selected from a short list of exceptional employees gather together in the library for tea, sandwiches, and finely baked desserts. Through the course of these informal social hours, new pathways for interaction between administration and staff have been forged. Building on the success of Tea with Dr. Cooper, the library was able to launch an employee art show that was well attended by hospital administration. 

Deborah Bonelli credits her library staff for all of the good work done by St. Barnabas Library. "I have a great staff that is open and willing to venture beyond the traditional day-to-day scope of hospital library services," she says. With the track record demonstrated by St. Barnabas Library, it would seem that patrons near and far would agree.