National Library Week: Spotlight on the 3 Libraries at Cook Children's
Cook Children's has many different resources for patients, patient families and staff members.
Editor's note: It's National Library Week, a time to celebrate libraries, library workers and to promote library use and support.
Six years ago, Ashley Brock, MLS, AHIP, Family Library/Literacy Program manager, visited a family member after their surgery at Cook Children’s Medical Center and found her dream job.
During the visit, Brock discovered the Matustik Family Health Library – a space on the first floor of the medical center where patient families obtain health information on a consumer level.
“I thought it was such a neat place for families to go,” Brock said. “I have always been interested in the medical field, so I remember thinking this would be a perfect fit.”
Brock’s library career started at a public library in Frisco while working on a master’s degree in Library Sciences at Texas Woman’s University and then moved on to the Dallas Public Library. But she has always been interested in the medical field.
Soon after visiting Cook Children’s, Brock applied and was hired as a librarian for the Schwarz Health Sciences Library which is a place for all employees, health care providers with admitting and clinical privileges and students while on a rotation.
Four health sciences librarians and a pediatric clinical nurse specialist provide timely and relevant print and electronic resources in support of evidence-based practice and research.
The library houses 16 desktop computers, two laptops, a printer, scanner and fax machine. It is named after Edwin Schwarz, M.D., Fort Worth’s first pediatrician who dedicated his life to the well-being of Tarrant County’s children.
Empowering Families With Knowledge
In November 2021, Brock transitioned to the Matustik Family Health Library – a space on the first floor of the medical center where patient families obtain understandable, up-to-date information on a consumer level. The library honors Cassandra Matustik, M.D., who had a passion for improving children’s lives. Brock is a curator of the books for the collection and provides consults to patient families among other services.
“Being in the hospital is overwhelming on its own,” Brock said. “I want the families to feel empowered to care for their children by giving them quality information. They can trust us with that.”
Brock said they get a lot of foot traffic at the Matustik Family Health Library where families often use the computers, printers and fax machines – a difference maker during an unexpected stay. Whether they need to file FMLA paperwork or insurance for their job, Brock is there to help. She is also a notary and regularly notarizes documents for families.
“It seems simple, but these services are very valuable to families when they need it,” Brock said.
A Library For Kids
Patients also have their own library to visit – the Bomar Library named after William Bomar who was the founding chairman of the Board of Trustees at Cook Children’s and helped shape pediatric health care in Texas. He truly loved children and provided funding to endow the library. Thousands of patients benefit from the education and entertainment at the Bomar Library. In addition to fun books for all ages, the library offers puzzles and games for inpatients and their siblings to check out. Therapy dogs also visit to sit with the readers and to make the experience even more enjoyable.
“This library is very special and is run by volunteers for the most part,” said Brock, who manages the volunteers. “They catalog and take carts filled with books to the floor for patients to check out directly from their rooms.”
When receiving a new diagnosis, clinical staff sometimes recognize the need for families to have more information. Cook Children’s Medical Center is one of the first in Texas to integrate the consult service into medical records. Brock said they saw the way Child Life requests visits electronically and realized the opportunity to do the same with library consults. Once clinical staff requests a consult in the medical record, Brock takes information to the patient’s room, sends it through the patient portal or mails it to their home address.
“It’s a great way to get consumer information delivered to the bedside for inpatients,” Brock said.
Focusing On Health Literacy
Brock said the importance of health literacy has been realized worldwide due to the pandemic.
“As soon as COVID-19 started spreading, we all got the opportunity to see what patient families go through when encountering a new disease and understanding how to keep everyone safe while navigating new and sometimes changing information. Just like with the pandemic, patient families have better experiences and outcomes if we are providing them with clear and accessible messages.”
Consistency is key according to Brock. Her goal is to ensure all families receive the same information whether they are going to the clinic in Fort Worth or Willow Park.
“The same quality care for every child is so important,” Brock said. “The information they receive makes a difference in how well they are able to take care of their child.”
About Cook Children's
Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization is comprised of nine companies, including our Medical Center, Physician Network, Home Health company, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Health Plan, Health Services Inc., Child Study Center and Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet the unique needs of their child. For 100 years, we’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. We combine the art of caring with leading technology and extraordinary collaboration to provide exceptional care for every child. This has earned Cook Children’s a strong, far-reaching reputation with patients traveling from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care. For more information, visit cookchildrens.org.