National Network of Libraries of Medicine names Hardin a Regional Medical Library, bestows $6.5 million grant
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The University of Iowa Libraries’ Hardin Library for the Health Sciences has been awarded a five-year grant to serve as a Regional Medical Library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). NN/LM consists of eight competitively selected Regional Medical Libraries; Hardin Library will serve the Greater Midwest Region.

The National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, will award Hardin Library $6.5 million to establish the regional office, including six full-time staff positions.

As a Regional Medical Library, the Hardin Library’s role is to support the National Library of Medicine in its efforts to provide all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improve the public’s access to information so citizens can make informed decisions about their health.

Throughout the five-year grant period, Hardin Library staff will work to achieve the following NN/LM goals:

Develop collaborations among Network members and other organizations to improve access to and sharing of biomedical-information resources throughout the nation.

Promote awareness of, access to, and use of biomedical-information resources for health professionals and the public, with a particular emphasis on contributing to the Healthy People 2020 goal of eliminating health disparities.

Develop, promote, and improve electronic access to health information by Network members, health professionals, and organizations providing health information to the public.

To accomplish this, Hardin’s team of librarians will form partnerships with libraries and other organizations and offer a variety of in-person and online training for health professionals; community organizations; health-information centers; and public, hospital, and academic medical libraries throughout Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

In addition, Hardin Library will fund awards to assist regional libraries and information centers to educate and support unaffiliated health professionals and consumers in their local areas.

Linda Walton, associate university librarian at the University of Iowa Libraries and director of the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, will serve as director for the Regional Medical Library. Elizabeth Kiscaden, currently a clinical education librarian at Hardin, has been named the associate director.

John Culshaw, university librarian for the UI Libraries, commends the Hardin Library staff for earning this competitive contract. “This recognizes the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences as a national leader in health information access for health care consumers and professionals,” he says. “Not only does this contract reflect well on the quality and breadth of our library’s outreach efforts within Iowa but also on the high level of staff expertise and leadership at Hardin.”

Walton, who is the past president of the Medical Library Association, will oversee the development of key partnerships that will enable the University of Iowa to lead the region in providing access to biomedical information. Efforts will include collaboration with the UI College of Public Health to provide training for public health professionals through an online platform, with particular emphasis on serving underrepresented populations such as the North Dakota native American tribes and underserved areas in urban Indianapolis.

The Hardin Library will continue to serve as the outreach medical library for the state of Iowa, adding service as a training center for health professionals and libraries region-wide. Among other projects, the grant includes a University of Iowa partnership with the University of Michigan to start an initiative to provide training and support for data management.

Since its original authorization by Congress in the 1965 Medical Library Assistance Act, the NN/LM has worked to equalize and enhance access to health-sciences information throughout the United States. Its mission is to advance the progress of medicine and improve public health by providing health professionals and the general public with equal access to biomedical information.

Information about all NLM programs and services is online at