Gross Anatomy In the Library: Evaluating the Impact of Anatomical Models in Academic Health Sciences Libraries
Harmon, Geoffrey James Corey; Roby, Mary
Background: Laupus Library began its anatomical model collection in the late 1980s with one model. In intervening years, the collection has grown to 236 models ranging from single organs to entire bodies. As of March 25, 2021, the circulation count for the models was 21,571. During the 2018-2019 academic year, we observed that several of the models had become too damaged to continue circulating and we evaluated whether to replace them or slowly discontinue the service. Based on circulation numbers, as well as anecdotal evidence, we chose to replace the damaged models and expand the collection further. Description: We supplemented our previously collected data with empirical methods to provide additional evidence to inform future decisions about continued investments in the anatomical model lending program. We examined the types of patrons using the models, each model’s usage statistics, and their cost per use. As a comparison, we looked at the statistics for our virtual anatomy subscriptions. We surveyed the students who check out the physical models regarding their assessment of this program’s value to them. Finally, we surveyed all Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) members about their physical model collection and its usage in addition to searching the literature to find other evidence of the value that models provide in health sciences education. Conclusion: Our data shows that 80.39% of our models are checked out by undergraduates at our institution while graduate students account for 13.72% and faculty/staff make up 3.17%. Nursing students accounted for 62% of the model checkouts and 91% of students surveyed believed the models positively impacted their learning outcomes. We also surveyed all AAHSL libraries (n=181) and received responses from 89 (49%). Nearly 61% reported having at least one model with 9 having over 100 models. 77.53% reported having e-Anatomy resources as well. Responses about circulation ranged from hardly at all to several thousand per year. The model collection is a high use distinctive feature of Laupus Library and the data supports our decision to continue investing in it.