This toolkit originates from the Health Sciences Information Consortium and is in the process of being adapted and updated by the CHLA/ABSC Standards Standing Committee.

Where marketing techniques describe what the library offers and what value it provides, impact stories use a narrative to explain how the library has helped a real person or team within the organization. The HSICT described this approach as a Critical Value Incident (derived from the critical incident technique): focusing on a specific instance where the library was essential to solving a problem or improving a situation.

Make sure your narrative ties directly back to the expressed values or goals of your organization. Think quality over quantity: one excellent story will say so much more than ten that are mediocre. It’s also important to remember that values vary, so try to use someone from outside the library as a sounding board for any potential stories.


From Rouge Valley Health System in Scarborough, Ontario:

In 2013, the Health Sciences Library at Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) launched the Information on Prescription Service (InfoRx) to assist physicians and nurses in providing patients with the information about their conditions, treatments, and medications.  Throughout an extensive promotional campaign, the library has found the way of incorporating the InfoRx service into the Care After the Care in Hospital (CATCH) program, a new program implemented at the RVHS to help reduce readmission rates for patients discharged from the hospital. By supporting the educational component of the CATCH program, the InfoRx service helps save clinicians’ time in educating patients about their conditions and prescribed medications. Furthermore, the implementation of the InfoRx service has expanded the hospital’s focus on customer service, health promotion and education, as well as increased the library’s visibility and perceived value within the organization

Another great example from Peel Public Health located in Mississauga, Ontario:

In 2009, our organization created a 10 year strategic plan that included an infrastructure priority to become a leader in evidence-informed decision making.  An integral part of creating the organizational culture for that priority was a full library reference service.  When public health practitioners make a program decision, one of the key steps in that decision is a Rapid Review of the literature.  Literature searches are completed by the librarians for every Rapid Review.   Any decision made can affect the expenditure of thousands of taxpayer dollars.  The decisions affect many facets of everyday life from the water you drink to the roads and sidewalks to the air you breathe.   Two recent examples of programming changes  include the provision of an evidence-informed physical activity program for a local school board and the implementation of a region-wide outdoor smoking bylaw outlawing smoking within a nine-meter radius of playgrounds, outdoor recreational facilities and entrances and exits to municipal buildings.  In a recent 5 year check in of the strategic plan, staff were quoted as saying “I can’t imagine making a recommendation about a program now without looking at the research evidence”.  The next five years of the strategic plan includes an evolving role for the librarians including honing the skills that allow us to become more involved with the decision makers, such as helping teams formulate their original problem statement and critically appraising the literature.