Ask any store owner to identify one of the keys to having a successful business and they’ll likely respond “location, location, location!”

Lydia Cheney, program manager at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, would agree: She says that will be a crucial part of the success of the new Kirklin Clinic Patient Resource Library. And, right on cue, enters Art Boudreaux, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and a visitor to the library on this day.

“Wow. This is great,” Boudreaux says as he examines the bookshelves full of information on diseases such as cancer, diabetes, nutrition and home care, among others. “I was just walking by and saw the library. I didn’t know it was here.”

Located on the second floor of The Kirklin Clinic (TKC) next to Patient Services and the walkway to the parking deck, the library opened Nov. 1 and since then has drawn steady traffic and praise from patients, family members, doctors and nurses.

Early in 2006, Nancy Dunlap, M.D., chief of staff at The Kirklin Clinic, identified space and renovation funds for the current library. Recent funding from a Protective Life Clinical Initiative Award will cover operational expenses of the new facility for the next two years. The new library is an outgrowth of the Cancer Resource Library, which until recently was located beneath the parking deck of The Kirklin Clinic. The space was attractive and had many good resources, but the location was not easily accessible for patients or staff.

In fact, in 2005, Ty Howell, librarian at the Cancer Resource Library, set up a library promotion table in The Kirklin Clinic on the second floor near the parking deck crosswalk as a test of the library’s relevance. The table was staffed one day a week for three hours, with 474 people coming by during a three-month period. By comparison, the Cancer Resource Library only had 412 visitors during 18 months. So, it was easy to see that while the need for information was there, the method for disseminating it was lacking.

Edward Partridge, M.D., acting director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, was a key figure in lending support for the new and much-needed facility. “More than 15,000 patients visit TKC each week for physician appointments, tests, procedures and out-patient surgery,” Partridge says. “The focus of the Patient Resource Library is interdisciplinary, meeting the needs of those patients from approximately 30 specialty and subspecialty clinics at TKC.”

Patient records show that 86 percent of appointments in TKC are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, thus placing the library in a high-volume area crucial for patients and their caregivers.

“Our hope is that the new library will be utilized by patients and their families, as well as clinical staff,” Cheney says. “UAB researchers who enroll patients in clinical trials will have access to one of our small rooms for one-on-one interaction with participants.”

Cheney and Howell are encouraging doctors and nursing staff to visit the library and help build the resource network for patients. They want doctors to suggest and contribute reading materials on the diseases they specialize in treating.

“We would love to facilitate information from doctors and nurses to the patients,” Howell says. “Not only do we have expertise from the cancer area, but five Lister Hill librarians also are part of the working staff. We’re very proud of the depth of our staff, and they are excited at the prospect of assisting visitors with information searches.”

Resources available include brochures, reference books, medical newsletters, videos, DVDs and two computers with Internet access to disease-specific Web sites. The staff also offers customized information packets to patients tailored to specific questions. Books may be checked out, and light reading material is available for those who are just looking for something to take their minds off of the day’s treatment.

The library is open 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “There always will be a trained librarian here to help,” Howell adds. “We want visitors to leave our library with an answer to their question.”

For more information on the library, call 502-9956.