I am the I in IWK -Andrea Reynolds – Coordinator of the Family Library

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Andrea Reynolds is a librarian and has worked at the IWK for 25 years. Starting out in the Health Sciences Library, Reynolds began as an A.V. clerk before graduating her Masters in Library and Information Studies program. Just as her education finished, the coordinator role at the Family Library opened up and Reynolds naturally took the post.

“When I started here at the IWK I was 23 years old, and I remember hearing about the Long Service Awards dinner thinking how it seemed like such an impressive, and far-away, thing to be here that long,” says Reynolds who just attended the dinner herself this past year.

Components of Reynolds’ role include traditional librarian services such as accessing reliable online health information for families and ordering relevant books and DVDs for the library’s collection. The other part is more specific to the IWK in helping staff members create informational pamphlets for patient and family learning. Currently, Reynolds has 584 patient/family resources active on the IWK website but has a database of over 1000 that have been registered over the years.  She helps ensure patient/family resources meet IWK criteria for accuracy, currency and plain language.

Both roles, however, are about getting the right information to those who need it. “On one side, I help families find information and on the other, I help staff through the process of creating health information. Both sides are really rewarding.”

“I just enjoy helping people, and no matter what I’m doing here it’s really rewarding to know that I’m helping make a process easier. Whether it’s being in the hospital if you’re a patient or family or you’re a staff member trying to communicate information in a clear and concise way.”

“The Family Library is great because it helps so many people who are going through a personal health issue themselves or with their children. They’re able to get information that’s written clearly and specially for them. It’s such an important resource in helping families and women in their treatment process, I really feel like I have a purpose here.”

Reynolds pays special care in offering a welcoming and comfortable space for anyone to find a resource. From the range of books in various languages to a cozy space to breastfeed. “Children come in here and I encourage them to play, this isn’t a library where you need to be quiet at all time, this is here for them.”

Reynolds’ service of patient/family resources development help is available to all staff who are looking to communicate health information in simple and easy-to-understand ways. You can find out more by contacting Andrea Reynolds at andrea.reynolds@iwk.nshealth.ca.

The Family Library first opened in 1992 and its operating budget is funded by the IWK Axillary. The library currently has over 700 movies and over 3500 books. Patients and staff are welcome to use all their resources.