Medical librarian Pat Hamilton is out of a job on Friday as Rapid City Regional Hospital transitions to a self-help electronic medical library for internal use only.
For the past 24 years, Hamilton and her staff of volunteers offered medical library resources to doctors, hospital employees and medical, nursing and pharmacy students. The library's consumer health section also was available to the general public to do research on their medical conditions. Those materials have been donated to the Rapid City Public Library. The electronic library will no longer be available for public use.
Dr. Robert Allen, RCRH's vice president of medical affairs, said the library and its computer access will remain open for internal use, but it will be staffed partially by volunteers and by medical staff services personnel.
"With electronic advancements, health care facilities are increasingly moving to this type of library," Allen said in a statement. "Rapid City Regional Hospital will maintain some books and journals in its library."
The amount of money saved by the move is not known at this time, he said.
Library volunteer Joyce Herbst said: "They can put whatever spin they want on it, but brass tacks is that they're closing the library. I guess I just don't understand how you can take that resource away from a teaching hospital. How can it be a teaching hospital, without a resource library and someone to run it? I just think it's not a very smart thing to do."