Infectious Diseases-the Reel Thing

Institution: US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) is the lead  medical research laboratory for the U.S. Biological Defense Research Program. Its mission is to conduct basic and applied research on biological threats to protect the war fighter.  As an integral part of USAMRIID’s research, the Medical Library’s challenge is to identify, procure, and maintain quality scientific and technological information resources and to provide distinguished, responsive service to its customers. To fulfill its mission, the Library maintains book, document, database, media, and e-resource collections that are both comprehensive and relevant in the field of biological defense.  Its motto is: “The USAMRIID Medical Library–the research starts here”.

One of the Library’s strategic goals for FY11 is to increase its marketing efforts to connect with its patrons and non-patrons. If successful, the plan’s focus will result in an increased awareness of the library’s value and an optimized usage of the library’s resources.

An example of its implemented outreach activities is a re-vamped “lunch and learn” movie program. Prior to 2011, the Library typically invited a guest speaker or held a film presentation in conjunction with its “Subject of the Month” bulletin board display which highlighted a specific topic traditionally observed during that month (e.g. Native American Month, National Honey Month).  These outreach programs drew minimal attendance (even with the offerings of free food), so the Library decided to revise its Subject of the Month program. Since USAMRIID’s research involves infectious diseases, the Library decided to focus its film presentations on that subject as well, and has begun a program called “Infectious Diseases–the Reel Thing”.  This program is a team effort of the Library Director, the Public Services Librarian, the Library Technician, and a research scientist (formerly on the Library Committee). The workflow is as follows: the researcher and the Library Director brainstorm about various infectious diseases as potential subjects of interest, the Library Director selects the disease topic, the Public Services Librarian identifies possible film titles which could be shown, the Director previews, selects/rents/purchases the film for showing, and compiles the background  information for the bulletin board, the Library Technician prepares the bulletin board layout and designs the publicity flyers for distribution. The research scientist conducts supplemental word-of-mouth marketing to his colleagues about the upcoming event. The entire Library staff assists with the refreshment offerings which accompany the film showing.

The first 2011 “Reel Thing” highlighted “World Leprosy Day” and the Carville leprosarium; attendance for this showing was greater than the Library’s total 2010 program attendance. Films related to “World Tuberculosis Day” and “Lyme Disease Awareness Month” have also drawn respectable audiences. Shows on Malaria, Polio, and Plague are a sampling of other infectious disease documentaries planned for showing throughout the rest of the year.

While it is too soon to tell the influence of the revised marketing strategy, current statistics reveal an increase in library service usage and overall library attendance.  Including a responsive researcher on the programming team was key to the campaign’s success.

Project type:  Project in Progress

Budget:  $0

Team members:

Denise Lupp, Library Director
Lori Beaudoin, Public Services Librarian
Jenny Novacescu, Library Technician
Bradley Stiles, Research Scientist

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