Go Local Kansas
Update: The National Library of Medicine stopped supporting the Go Local project on a national basis in 2010.
Go Local Kansas is an online locator service for health care resources and services in the state of Kansas. In an effort to make the site as comprehensive as possible, it was built through a collaboration of public, academic, and health sciences libraries.
•Mini-grants – The state of Kansas is divided into 7 Regional Public Library Systems. Each Regional System was offered a mini-grant for their participation. These grants, up to $3000, were based on the number of records input by the system and there were no stipulations put on how the money was spent. Being offered this small pot of money seemed to create buy-in from the libraries, giving them a sense of ownership in the project.
•Training sessions – Each participating Region named a Selector, one person who would enter data into the system. Training for the Selector was done in a variety of ways. If possible, the Selector was trained face-to-face at their library. Otherwise, online training sessions were offered, sometimes one-on-one, other times there were multiple people participating. A Web site was also created that documented the step-by-step process and linked the Selector to useful information.
•Tie-in with existing program – The lead library was heavily promoting Kansas Health Online, its health information portal, across the state at the same time. This allowed the two sites to always be mentioned together, connecting them in the minds of librarians and users. It also allowed the lead library to get more value out of traveling across the state by sharing these resources simultaneously in a face-to-face setting.
Evidence of Success
•Existing site – Go Local was launched in January of 2009 and is updated and maintained: http://www.golocalkansas.org
•Continued training – It is still too early to determine successful promotion and usage of the site across the state but during recent in-service trainings at regional meetings, Go Local Kansas was part of the training provided. It will be crucial to keep the resource visible to both librarians and patrons to encourage its use.
•Rural resources – It would not have been possible to include local businesses and resources from rural parts of the state without the knowledge of librarians in those communities. The collaborative aspect created a sense of ownership and inclusion in parts of the state that historically has felt left out of initiatives coming from the larger metropolitan areas.
•Funding – A $25,000 start-up grant from the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine and the National Library of Medicine allowed for the distribution of the mini-grants. This money was also used for promotion and travel.
•Institutional commitment – Without the dedication and commitment from the leadership at Dykes Library and the State Library of Kansas, this project would not have been possible. Each institution donated many staff hours as well as infrastructure and technical resources. Several staff members at Dykes Library continue to update and maintain records in an effort to keep the database relevant.
•Technical infrastructure – The National Library of Medicine had an existing user-friendly interface in place for managing the Go Local Kansas database. This made it very easy to import, export, and manage records. Staff at NLM handled all of the behind-the-scenes systems work, significantly reducing the technical know-how normally required to launch a product such as this.
•Staff – The many hours of work put in by library staff across the state is what made this project successful. Without their knowledge and expertise, Go Local Kansas would not be the rich, valuable resource it is today.
Amy Ritterskamp, Community Health Librarian, Dykes Library, University of Kansas Medical Center, firstname.lastname@example.org