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UHN Virtual Library: About Us

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Welcome to

The Value of Library Services

Evidence shows that librarians positively influence clinical decisions, improve quality of care, and help prevent adverse events in patient care.

Select Studies What the Data Demonstrates
Aitken EM, et al., found that the presence of clinical librarians on the health care team led to positive effects on patient care, including clinical decision-making.
  • 88% of respondents reported that they changed a treatment plan based on skills taught by the clinical librarian; 44% reported that they changed a diagnosis.
  • 79% of respondents changed a treatment plan based on the librarian's mediated search support; 36% changed a diagnosis.


Marshall JG, et al., showed that using information obtained from the library impacts patient care. It saves time, changes care, avoids adverse events, and supports the practice of evidence-based care.


  • A survey of 4,520 health professionals in the US and Canada reports that 75% of health professionals handled patient care differently after using information obtained from their medical library.


Research demonstrates that information literacy skills and evidence-based medicine training by librarians benefit the lifelong learning, research activities, and clinical decision making of learners and health practitioners.

Select Studies What the Data Demonstrates

Ayre S, et al., demonstrated the value of clinical information skills training by librarians on lifelong learning and patient care outcomes.

  • 98% of respondents saw a benefit in their teaching or learning following an information skills training session.
  • 75% of respondents in patient-facing roles used the training in patient care, to inform choice of treatment (28%), to advise patients/carers (27%), and in guideline and pathway development (27%).
  • Setting: National Health Service in the United Kingdom; 534 survey responses representing 61 organizations


Gruppen LD, et al., This comparative study found that librarian-led instructional sessions on EBM literature searches have a “marked beneficial effect” on the quality of medical student searches.

Students trained by librarians had fewer search errors and correspondingly higher quality searches than those who did not receive librarian training.

  • The average number of search errors for each student was less for the intervention students (4.4 errors) than for the control students (6.2 errors).
  • Intervention students had searches of higher quality (72.5% of a possible 95 points) than did control students (59.3%).
  • Setting: 92 fourth-year medical students at an academic health center

Librarian participation in the knowledge synthesis  process ensures that published review search strategies are of high quality. Research indicates that library involvement in the process of securing grants is a key element in getting grant proposals funded. 

Select Studies What the Data Demonstrates
Golder S, et al., concluded that  there were significant differences in the quality of literature searches carried out by information professionals compared to non-librarians.
  • Systematic reviews carried out by information professionals "were more likely to be reproducible, include more search terms, and search more databases” than searches conducted by non-librarians.
Luther J  quantified the library’s contribution to the process of securing grants and demonstrated that libraries provide economic benefit to institutions through successful grant awards.
  • 95% of responding faculty stated that citations were important in securing grant awards; 94% of responding faculty used citations in grant proposals; and 94% of responding faculty obtained citations via the campus network or library gateway.

Evidence shows that medical librarians enable a significant cost-savings for their health institutions. Investments in library services have also shown to produce financial returns to their institutions and communities. Additionally, library services and resources contribute greatly to successful grant awards, and ultimately to improving an institution's bottom line. 


Select Studies What the Data Demonstrates
Banks DE, et al., concluded that a librarian’s presence at morning report correlated with lower hospital charges and length of stays.
  • Librarian contributions to morning report led to a decrease in hospital length of stay from 5 to 3 days and hospital cost savings of $1,392 per case.
Perrier L, et al., concluded that librarian services influence clinical decision-making and reduce hospital length of stay of patients.
  • Librarian-led services improve clinician searching skills and clinical decision-making, and the systematic review indicated that services provided to clinicians were effective in saving time for health professionals.
Jemison K, et al., concluded that hospital libraries in the US Veterans Administration provided a good return on investment (ROI).
  • Studies showed a cost benefit range of 3:1 to 11.5:1 and return on investment (ROI) range of 210% to 1050%.
  • Business impact measures showed a cost per use ranging between 13%-46% lower than cost per use for commercial services;
  • Interlibrary loan annual cost savings and cost avoidance showed a range of $77,745-$1,083,755;
  • and librarian searches reaped a clinician-estimated hospital savings ranging from $159,493-$1,977,783, and a time savings for clinicians valued from $50,818-$630,170.

Our Libraries

UHN Library and Information Services are available to UHN staff, clinicians, researchers, and learners. UHN Libraries has several library locations across UHN campuses. Our libraries offer:

  • A health and medicine focused collection of electronic and physical books and journals.
  • Public access computers
  • Access to UHN WiFi
  • Group and individual study space
  • Printing and photocopying ($0.15 per page)
  • A variety of workshops
  • Helpful staff available to assist you with any questions you have about our collections, borrowing, and document delivery services

Services & Training

UHN Libraries provide several educational opportunities and services:

Information Specialists (Health Sciences Librarians) are assigned and dedicated to specific client groups. In that capacity, they provide free literature searches, in-depth reference and research, individual and group training sessions on the use of library information resources, and collection development in their assigned areas. Information Specialists regularly obtain feedback and input from their client groups as to new potential print and electronic tools and preferred formats.

Borrowing and Accessing Resources

Anyone with a valid UHN badge can borrow books from our library collections. To register as a library patron, please complete a client registration form―you can also register in person at one of our libraries.

  • Books may be borrowed for 3 weeks
  • Journals and CD-ROMS may be borrowed for 1 week   
  • Reference Books and current issues of journals are non-circulating
  • Electronic resources can also be accessed remotely via our Virtual Library

Items may be renewed provided there are no holds on the item. To renew, please contact a library site.

Document Delivery

Materials held at other UHN Library locations can be transferred at no cost. Books or articles not available at UHN may be requested through our Document Delivery Service (fees may apply).

To request an item, complete the Book or Article Request form, or send an email with complete citation information to Caleb Nault

Lost items

Lost library books or journals are subject to the replacement cost of the item, plus a $10.00 library-processing fee per item.

Overdue items

Overdue notices will be sent via hospital internal e-mail. Refusal to return library materials, and/or to pay costs, may result in suspension of UHN Library privileges. Wightman-Berris Medical Students’ and PGYs’ overdue records will be forwarded to Medical Education offices.