Re-visioning library support for undergraduate educational programmes in an academic health sciences library A scoping review

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Denise Smith


McMaster University’s Health Sciences Library (HSL) began to transition to a new liaison service model in early 2018. One of its librarians sought to understand how an academic health sciences library can optimise its support for academic undergraduate programmes. This scoping review of the literature was pursued with the aim to submit an informed recommendation to HSL’s new Education and Lifelong Learning team, so the library could shift its approach to information literacy instruction in a manner that would optimise its outcomes for students and improve relationships with faculty staff.

The author searched seven databases: Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA), ProQuest ERIC, OVID Embase, EBSCO CINAHL, OVID Medline, Web of Science and PapersFirst. She developed a robust and comprehensive search strategy that used a combination of subject headings and keywords to describe information literacy, metaliteracy, libraries and health sciences education. The author also hand-searched bibliographies of seminal publications to broaden her search for relevant literature.

The findings in this review indicate that metaliteracy as a concept has not been intentionally implemented into information literacy training at academic health sciences libraries. The review finds that it is preferable to integrate information literacy skills directly into course or programme curricula and align those skills with the evidence-based practice skills undergraduates are already learning. Further, establishing a programme that builds on these skills gradually throughout the duration of the academic programme, rather than one-shot library instruction, is also preferred. To achieve success, libraries must build strong collaborative relationships with faculty staff.

The author provides recommendations for practice that reflect the findings of this review. Other academic health libraries may benefit from this review by taking into consideration its findings and subsequent recommendations.

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How to Cite
SMITH, Denise. Re-visioning library support for undergraduate educational programmes in an academic health sciences library. Journal of Information Literacy, [S.l.], v. 13, n. 2, p. 136-162, dec. 2019. ISSN 1750-5968. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 31 mar. 2023. doi:
Research articles (peer-reviewed articles)