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Hi - Just thought I'd share my experience regarding a hospital merger
and the fates of the libraries at each facility.
My situation is a bit unique in that the actual merger of our 2 hos-
pitals took place over 20 yrs ago, long before mergers were the "in
vogue" thing to do.  In a way, I give credit to the Administrations,
however, to have the foresight to anticipate the problems back then
and come up with the same solution that many hospitals are just now
coming to grips with.  Anyway, ours was the merging of the 2 major
Catholic institutions in the State, (Rhode Island).  St. Joseph Hos-
pital and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital.  After the merger, the Institu-
tion was known as St. Joseph Hospital with 2 Units : the Our Lady of
Providence Unit, (OLP) and the Our Lady of Fatima Unit, (OLF).
Each hospital had its own library and in fact, St. Joseph Hospital had
2 libraries, 1 for the hospital and 1 for the School of Nursing.
Back then, a Masters in Library Science was not as important as it is now
so although each library was staffed with an experienced manager and
an assistant, the only Library with a true professional was the Medical
Library at St. Joseph Hospital.  Therefore, after the merger, staffing
remained pretty much the same, but the 1 professional became the Co-
ordinator, then later - Director of Library Services for the entire
institution  This worked out fine for a while since the then Director
concentrated her efforts on the OLP Library and just kept tabs on the
operations at the OLF Unit.  Later, however, the School of Nursing moved
to the OLF Unit and the libraries for the School and Hospital merged
within the Unit so that there was then only 1 lib. at OLP and 1 at OLF.
Also, there emerged a power struggle between the Director of Lib. Serv.
and the Dir. of the School of Nursing over control of the OLF Lib.
I sort of entered into the picture at that point as the new Dir. of Lib.
Services.  I felt good about the idea of controlling 2 libraries since
I had great assistants who rose above and beyond on numerous occasions,
however, there were days when I felt I was spreading myself too thin and
not providing enough professional expertise consistently between the 2
Units.  Currently, St. Joseph Hospital has undergone a massive re-
structuring with which comes substantial downsizing.  The OLP Unit is a
smaller, more specialized Unit concentrating on Psych. and Rehab. and
the OLF Unit has become more the "hub of operations" with most Med-Surg
operations moving there.  As a result, my assistant at OLP was laid off,
and Library hours were cut from 5 days/wk. (Mon-Fri,8:30-4:30) to 2
days/wk, (Tues. & Thurs., 8:30-12:30).  The hours are more manageable
for me because I'm not spreading myself as thinly, but because I've lost
all clerical help at OLP, much of the "nitty-gritty" doesn't always get
done and the appearance of the library at OLP leaves much to be desired.
Also, the OLF library is extremely busy trying to meet the needs of
heavier usage on the part of the Medical and Hospital Staffs who used to
use the OLP Library, along with the School of Nursing Faculty and
Students and the OLP staff who call OLF when the OLP Library is closed.
The bottom line, I guess is that although it took a few years, the
merger, ultimately took its toll on the Libraries, especially the OLP
Library.  If there had been no merger, they probably wouldn't have re-
duced the hours at OLP but the library assistant probably would still
have been laid off.  The merger ultimately helped the OLF Library by
providing a Professional Librarian to oversee the operation which seemed
to not be providing the level of service that it now does.
I'm not sure what all of this proves, but it's my experience!
Mary Zammarelli - Dir. of Lib. Serv. - St. Joseph Hospital
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