For Grant Applications: Data and Description of HSL

View text alternative for HSL 2016/17 snapshot

Infograph snapshot of data concerning the usage of HSL during 2016/2017

Data above is for the 2016/17 fiscal year


The Health Sciences Library is the primary library for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health. It also serves UNC Medical Center and AHEC, the North Carolina Area Health Education Center statewide program for health professions’ education. The Health Sciences Library is ranked among the top academic health sciences libraries in the nation and it is one of the largest of its type in the US as measured by square footage, number of staff, and expenditures. It is well known for digital library development and for providing unique access to electronic services to special clientele including off campus students. The Health Sciences Library connects people everywhere with knowledge to help them teach and learn effectively, ensure quality health care, conduct vital research, and make informed decisions.


The Library provides health information services to approximately 13,000 Health Affairs faculty, staff, medical residents, and students; nearly 3,000 community-based clinical preceptors; and over 7,000 staff and medical residents based at the UNC Medical Center.

The collection

The Health Sciences Library serves the health information needs of the entire university with more than 176,307 print and non-print titles and access to over 200 electronic databases. There is an exceptional collection of over 10,000 electronic serial publications, over 14,000 electronic books, over 4,600 streaming video titles, and over 340,000 total print volumes. The Health Sciences Library is a Resource Library for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, meaning that it participates in national and international interlibrary loan consortia. This participation allows the Library to borrow materials quickly from other libraries around the nation and the world.


The Library employs 60 FTE (full-time equivalent) staff. It is nationally recognized for leadership in outreach to its primary clientele and the general public, locally and globally. Liaison librarians work closely with allied health sciences, bioinformatics, clinical and translational science, dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, several clinical departments at UNC Medical Center, UNC Health administration, cancer clinicians and researchers, as well as patient safety, patient education, quality improvement, and patient resource centers committees.


The Health Sciences librarians offer a variety of customized services, including extensive literature searches, online and face-to-face education, online self-help guides, on-site office hours, support for web-based and instructional technology projects, and connections to campus resources and expertise. Librarians participate on committees and teams in schools and units, for example, curriculum committees, accreditation review teams, and research grant teams. In addition, librarians orient faculty, clinical instructors, and students to the latest in library technology and databases.

Partners in education

The Library continues to consistently lead in curricular integration of information management competencies instruction. The Library was the first academic health sciences library in the country (1983) to have a separate department of information management education. Students in all five Health Affairs schools receive information skills instruction from Health Sciences Library librarians. Librarians work with faculty to incorporate information skills learning in modules at appropriate points throughout the students’ multi-year academic experience.

Library staff have also demonstrated their commitment to the education and training of health information professionals by hosting post-graduate fellows and serving as mentors, preceptors and employers of information and library science graduate students, as well as entry-level and mid-career professionals.

Partners in research

The Health Sciences Library partners in the research process by providing informationist and data management support, guidance, and referrals. The Library also provides in-person consultations, instruction or training for teams and classes, and consultation in research-related workshops or events.

The Research Hub @ HSL connects Carolina researchers at every stage of the research process with the experts and tools they need to help make their research more connected and collaborative. Researchers and research teams can take advantage of technology-enabled spaces that foster collaboration, as well as expert referrals, and training provided by Hub librarians and campus partners. The Hub also provides instruction on equipment and software use so teams can apply new digital research methods to their work.

The Research Hub @ HSL offers a variety of software in the following categories: Data Visualization and Molecular & Chemical Modeling tools, Data Cleaning tools, GIS/Mapping tools, Programming Applications, and Statistical Applications. The Research Hub’s Collaboration Center space offers video and web conferencing software including PolyCom Real Presence, Skype, and Google Hangouts.


In 2003, the Health Sciences Library launched NC Health Info providing access to local health services, providers, programs, and reliable health information, as well as information tailored to help North Carolina residents become informed patients and manage their health care. Librarians also provide instruction to the public about online health information resources. Health professionals across the state have access to state-of-the-art information through the AHEC Information and Library System. The AHEC Digital Library is a unique portal for these professionals to use current medical literature and other quality health information resources through electronic full-text journals, books and databases as well as continuing education. The Library’s Global Engagement @ HSL provides support to faculty, students and staff who work internationally and with global partners. HSL librarians collaborate with the UNC Department of Family Medicine on YOUR HEALTH®, a weekly radio show that features health experts, patient experiences, and recent health topics in the news. Librarians created and help maintain the show’s website and also provide links to consumer health information about the topics covered each week.

The building and facilities

Renovation of the library building was completed in early 2005. The Library is fully wireless, with guest wireless access, and equipped with 64 public computer workstations, 20 small group study rooms, 2 teaching labs with a total of 45 workstations, 3 video conferencing facilities, 2 well-equipped public conference rooms, and a coffee shop. The Research Hub @ HSL, opened in 2015, offers video/web conferencing technologies, large screen displays paired with a variety of data analysis and visualization software, and an event space with web streaming capability. The library seats 578 people (401 open seats, 35 café, 50 classroom seats, 65 conference room seats, and 27 Research Hub seats).

Telemedicine Video-Conferencing capabilities

The UNC Site for Telemedicine Video-Conferencing is located in the Health Sciences Library. The Library is adjacent to the medical center and easily accessible. Room 328 seats a maximum of twelve. It has a complete, state-of-the-art integrated video system with a superior video quality. The Tandberg 3000 MXP allows connection to 4 video and 3 audio sites, with embedded multi-site functionality, powerful live presentations with one-step PC and LAN connection, and the ability to view presentations and presenters simultaneously with DuoVideo and H.239 dual stream.

The equipment features include:

  • A TANDBERG PrecisionHD Camera that zooms and rotates
  • A 16:9 flat screen monitor with 42″ plasma
  • CD-quality, stereo audio with Digital Natural Audio Module (DNAM) provided through 2 integrated speakers (60 W).

The performance features include:

  • Choice of Network: up to 512 kbps ISDN (H.320)/ 2 Mbps IP (H.323 or SIP)
  • Superior video quality incorporating the H.264 standard
  • Highest level of embedded encryption as well as IEEE 802.1x and H.235 authentication for security
  • True CD-quality, stereo audio
  • Protection against network interruptions in point-to-point and multipoint calls with automatic downspeeding and IPLR.


The Health Sciences Library’s annual expenditures of approximately $8 million.

UNC Library system

The library collections and services of UNC are contemporary, extensive and accessible. The Health Sciences Library is one of over a dozen libraries located on campus that support the University’s academic and professional programs. Campus libraries broadly cover the fine arts, the biomedical, health, and physical sciences, humanities, law, and social sciences. The combined book and serial volumes held exceeds 8,200,000 (including 1.5 million e-books); 5.2 million microforms; 1.6 million government publications; 496,684 audiovisuals; 287,600 maps; and 2.4 million graphic items. In addition to providing users with an array of informational, instructional, and research resources, the libraries offer a wide range of reference and referral services. In support of the University’s mission of service to the people of the state and the nation, every campus library is open to all users. See About UNC Libraries for more information.

Text alternative for HSL 2016/17 Snapshot infographic

The Health Sciences Library (HSL) provided instruction, resources, and assistance in the following areas for the years 2016 and 2017.

The HSL provided resources and assistance via the AHEC Digital Library to 55 Community Hospitals and 2,974 community-based clinical preceptors around North Carolina.

The HSL provides resources and assistance to 7,100 staff members of the UNC Medical Center and 12,989 Health Affairs faculty, staff, and students at UNC.

Within the HSL, our Special Collections houses 7,600 items. We provide access to 9,600 electronic serial publications. Our total number of print and non-print titles is 176,307. For items not owned by HSL, the library provided 3,300 items from other libraries.

Instruction services within the library taught 268 classes to 5,811 students. Library staff answered 19,076 reference questions. The Systematic Review team conducted 365 consultations this year.

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Last modified: 04/15/20