Scheduled Pick-ups for Library Materials

Starting July 13th, Library Services will offer scheduled pick-ups for St. Michael’s Hospital’s library material! This includes print books and journals in our main collection, the Leadership Development collection, Popular Health & Science collection, as well as iPads. You can schedule your pick-ups anytime between 10 AM- 3 PM.

1. Find the item(s) you want to borrow

First, search our online catalogue for the item(s) you’d like to borrow by visiting the library website here:


2. Request and schedule your pick-up

To make a request and schedule your pick-up please fill out the required information on this form:  

3. Pick up the item(s) you requested

To pick up your requested item(s), please arrive on the confirmed date and time at the Library’s entrance next to the Computer Lab/opposite the LKSKI east elevators, and please bring your St. Michael’s Hospital badge.

When returning the library item(s) you borrowed, please use the drop-box also located by the library entrance next to the Computer Lab/opposite the east elevators.

This service is currently only available at St. Michael’s Hospital. If you have any questions or would like clarification, please reach out to and we will be happy to help.

Pivoting to Virtual Teamwork using Slack

by Zack Osborne, Manager of Health Information & Knowledge Mobilization

For many non-clinical staff and teams at Unity Health, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted us to change the way we work (most often working virtually – from home), and to adopt new approaches for communication and collaboration among our teams (whom we’re accustomed to seeing and working with in-person each day). In mid-March with little advanced notice, the Library nimbly pivoted its core activities to online and remote environments. The foundation and key to success for all our library services is good communication, and accordingly, the new remote work directives unquestionably challenged the existing “flow” and pattern for quick, effective team communication on our team.

A piece in the Toronto Star addressed the realities, hardships, and some humour about working from home, and highlighted feelings of isolation and loneliness often accompanied with virtual/remote work. Changes to our work norms can be difficult, and an early solution trialed by the Unity Health Library Services team was the introduction and experimentation of Slack. The team quickly found Slack to be a helpful tool for enabling conversation, fostering morale, and mitigating the loneliness or isolation accompanying remote work.

Slack: What is it?

  • Free, web-based platform for communication and collaboration
  • Designed for small project groups or teams
  • Used for direct or group messaging, file sharing, and collaboration

How it works:

  1. Create a Workspace:
  2. Invite members to the Workspace by email
  3. Access the Workspace on your mobile device (through the Slack app), using any web browser, and/or using the Desktop app (I use a combination of all three)
  4. Create channels for different conversations, projects, team members

screenshot of the Library team's Slack workspace channels

For our purposes, we created channels relating to broad categories of our work, pre-existing committee structures, and channels which reflect the roles and responsibilities of the team’s staff. These channels allow for team members to filter work conversations (rather than one main “chat room” for all conversation topics), and each channel can be configured to include only those who need access.

In addition to using traditional email for business-as-usual communications supporting Library services and operations, we piloted Slack for remote collaboration, conversation, and to combat those feelings of decreased productivity often experienced with remote work. It’s also a simple tool for checking-in each morning, expressing how we’re feeling, and retaining the important social aspects of work which we’re all missing.

screenshot from Moneyball (2011) with caption "You don't put a team together with a computer."

While technology alone can’t solve our problems, Slack’s intuitive interface and adaptive functionality allows for a somewhat organic platform to foster office conversation, teamwork, and connecting with one another. Slack also delivers an informative guide with tips and tricks for transitioning to remote work:

It’s important to note that due to the nature of our department’s work, which has no interaction or connection with sensitive patient information or health records (requiring additional privacy considerations), we pursued piloting Slack purely for our internal communications and teamwork. Any clinical teams who work with patient health information should not adopt Slack without consulting IT Security first. An existing approved platform for Unity Health is Cisco Jabber. The Library also doesn’t use Slack to share licensed content from any of our vendors or suppliers. It’s used by our team solely as a communication platform to replace/supplement office conversation, quick question and answer, team huddles, and to support one another from afar.

Other positive outcomes of adopting Slack include significantly reduced inbox clutter and streamlined communication (i.e. assigning the use of Slack for quick answers, confirmation notes – i.e. “thanks for sending that!”, gaining consensus on ideas or action items, sharing Zoom details, etc.). Rather than sending an email, picking up the phone, or starting a Zoom meeting, it’s often much quicker to send a Slack message to get the information one needs. Slack also saved the day during a Code Grey in mid-March, as we could continue to communicate and work together while the email server was down for several hours.

To sum things up, the Library team has been very satisfied with Slack for its piloted purposes. Having a team-based platform to connect with each other while working virtually from home has been an asset to our continued productivity, and a valued outlet for communication and collaboration.

Library Link: April 2020

Hello, Library Linkers!

We have a jam-packed newsletter for you this month! Highlighting all of the new resources and information we have curated to help support your work and interests.

Click the newsletter for an interactive PDF version.


If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to

Supporting Your Information Needs During COVID-19

By David Lightfoot, Information Specialist

SARS CoV 2/COVID19 has stretched the capacity of healthcare systems around the globe, not just with numbers of patients, but the sheer novelty of the virus. As the disease spreads faster than research, communication among researchers is vital. Unity Health Toronto Health Sciences Library staff take our roles in this seriously, and while our doors are closed, we are busy as ever in our remote locations.

Our supporting role began when we were asked to compile news stories for the Unity Health Command Centre as part of their daily briefing. Members of the Command Centre team are given statistical updates, including a short a précis of Canadian and international news. The Library also opened a new Twitter account dedicated to following key policy makers—Canadian Health Ministers, politicians, the CDC—and set up automated Google searches.

Since then we have been approached by Unity Health staff and physicians to answer questions on more than 20 different topics related to COVID-19 that have informed decisions on patient care, including updating directives and procedures, and best practices.

At the same time, publishers around the globe have opened up access temporarily to ensure that the transfer of knowledge about SARS CoV2 is fast and reliable. Our job is to make sure the staff of Unity Health is aware of these resources.

COVID-19 resource guide prepared by the Health Sciences Library

COVID-19 resource guide prepared by the Health Sciences Library

We created a COVID-19 online resource guide comprised of curated information and tools to support all Unity Health staff and physicians for patient care, research, and policy development. This guide promotes the popular point-of-care tools UpToDate (now open access and free for all for April 2020) and Dynamed, as well as dozens of pre-print publications. The guide is continuously updated daily as new information evolves or is made available. It also provides users with pre-built PubMed searches and filters to save time and speed the work of others.

Please take advantage of these resources and contact us with your information needs and inquiries, and reach out with any opportunities for collaboration to support the evidence-based information needs of you, your team, and your care practices.

Library Support for COVID-19

The Library Services team would like to highlight three tools developed to help Unity Health Toronto staff and physicians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

1) COVID-19 Resource Guide 

To support Unity Health Toronto’s staff and physicians, the Library team has curated a guide of new COVID-19 resources and access points to help during this pandemic. This online resource includes newly available COVID-19 resources from UpToDate and DynaMed, as well as pre-populated COVID-19 PubMed searches. It is continuously updated to include the latest information and newly available resources. 


2) Resources for Easing Anxiety and Stress Through COVID-19

This Blogpost includes three lists of resources, including, apps, e-books, and other online resources that can be used to help mitigate and reduce stress and anxiety amidst COVID-19.


3) Off-Site Access How-To Guide:

Considering many Unity Health Toronto staff members are working from home, accessing resources while off-site is a crucial component to running “business as usual”.

St. Michael’s:

To facilitate access to the library’s electronic resources (such as eBooks, databases, and journal articles) easier from home or off-site, we have created this guide to streamline the process for you:

  1. From off-site, visit and login to Citrix
  2. Once logged in, click the Intranet icon. The Intranet portal will open in a new browser. This browser window will “behave” as though you’re on-site, and you will have full access to all of the library’s electronic resources.
  3. Click “Library Search” (on the left, beneath “Quick Links”), or type “” in the address bar.


St. Joesph’s:

To access the library’s electronic resources (such as eBooks, databases, and journal articles) from home or off-site you must authenticate yourself as a St. Joseph’s Hospital staff, physician or student. To do so:

  1. Using any internet browser navigate to and then click on the FOR STAFF link
  2. You will be re-directed to the FOR STAFF page, from here click on the Citrix Remote Access link
  3. Next you will be prompted for a username and password, enter your St. Joseph’s username and password (the same username and password used to access any Hospital computer) and hit Log On
  4. Once you have entered our login information you will be brought to the SJNet home page, and your internet browser will operate the same as a computer at the Health Centre




If you have any questions about the tools created by the library please reach out to, we’re happy to be of service through these trying times.

Easing Anxiety and Stress Through COVID-19

With the advent of COVID-19, even healthcare professionals experience stress, anxiety, and uncertainty in times of adversity, and that’s okay! To help mitigate and manage feelings of stress and anxiety, the Library team has compiled 3 lists of apps, e-Books, and online resources to help promote positive mental health, mindfulness, and a personal sense of calm.

5 Apps to Ease Anxiety and Stress



Headspace is a mindfulness meditation app designed to guide the user through meditations for a variety of different contexts, including work, sleep, stress and anxiety.  Headspace has recently released a specific meditation guide to support the community through COVID-19. Access these resources here:


Clear Fear

Clear Fear is a free app designed to help the user face anxieties, providing techniques and activities based around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The app includes a journaling component to help track your thoughts and feelings throughout difficult times.

smiling mind.png

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is a free app that was developed by psychologists and educators to help bring balance to the user’s life. With meditation programs specialized for adult users, work stress, and multiple language options, this app can assist in calming anxieties and obtaining an optimistic outlook.

stop breath and think.jpg

Stop, Breathe & Think

Designed to help the user do exactly as it says: stop… breathe… and think. It’s easy to get carried away by anxieties, and taking time for oneself to reflect can help bring back balance and calm.


Insight Timer

Advertised as the number 1 top free app for sleep, anxiety, and stress. Insight Timer has a wide selection of meditation topics, categories, and programs to address whatever the user might be facing. They’re also beta-testing team programs to increase community spirit within the app.

5 e-Books to Ease Anxiety and Stress

To access these e-Books you must be located at a Unity Health Toronto site. If you are off-site you must first login remotely. Please contact the IT Help Desk for support.

Mindfulness for Careers : How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself

Book Jacket“Carers are particularly vulnerable to feeling stressed, worried and worn down by the vast demands that often come with caregiving, be they physical, psychological or emotional. Mindfulness can be enormously beneficial to carers, whether professional or voluntary, as a means of developing greater inner stability, resilience and gaining more control over their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.”

Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness

chomThis comprehensive guide goes into detail discussing and reviewing theories and concepts behind mindfulness, understanding fear, trusting one’s own experiences, mindfulness-based interventions, and more. Perfect for a reader who is interested in an academic perspective on mindfulness. 

Caring Science, Mindful Practice: Implementing Watson’s Human Caring Theory

Book Jacket

Caring Science, Mindful Practice offers unique and practical project examples that nurses will consider for their practice or educational settings. With its integration of Watson’s caring science and mindfulness principles, Sitzman and Watson have extended knowledge of Watson’s caring science and caritas processes through integrating Thich Nhat Hahn’s mindfulness perspective and practices.”.

Mindfulness at Work Essentials for Dummies


Mindfulness at Work Essentials for Dummies is designed to help the reader understand how mindfulness works, and how the brain will incorporate these techniques into new behavioral patterns. Incorporating these routine suggestions can help increase productivity at work.

Overcoming Secondary Stress in Medical and Nursing Practice: A Guide to Professional Resilience and Personal Well-Being

ossimpThis work is structured to help healthcare professionals develop the tools needed to be able to manage stress and develop resilience. Resilience at work can help support health workers’ personal well-being. Providing tools, questionnaires, concept models, and descriptions of the kinds of support systems needed to have a balanced personal and professional life.

5 Online Resources to Ease Anxiety and Stress

Health and Wellness for Health Professionals

Library Services staff at Unity Health Toronto have curated a list of resources to support health and wellness for Health Professionals. This online resource guide provides information to support health workers’ personal health and wellness for day-to-day practice and in trying times.

CAMH (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health)

CAMH has put together a series of articles to help the community understand, and develop strategies to cope with stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19.

CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association)

Canada Mental Health Association’s page for COVID-19 provides a list of resources on how to respond to employee anxiety around COVID-19, how to offer support throughout these stressful times, and suggests reliable sources to find information on the virus.

APA (American Psychological Association)

The APA has created a guide designed to help individuals build resilience. Personal resilience can help support and provide calm for individuals when life brings unexpected twists and turns.


HeretoHelp allows you to look for resources from two perspectives, to support yourself, or to help support others. They have developed a guide to support our communities throughout COVID-19. This guide walks the reader through how to take care of one’s self amidst the pandemic, how to help others and resources to support anxiety management.

If you have any questions about these resources feel free to contact The Library team wishes all health, happiness, and peace of mind!

Unity Health Toronto Library Closures

Effective Tuesday March 17 at 3PM, the Health Sciences Library spaces at Unity Health Toronto will be closed until further notice. Library services such as literature searches, research/information inquiries, and interlibrary loan requests (articles only) will continue to be available remotely for all Unity Health Staff from Monday to Friday, 8AM to 6PM. All online Library resources are still available 24/7. Due dates for borrowed materials will be suspended indefinitely.

Please find contact information for each site below:

St. Joseph’s:

St. Michael’s:




If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Zack Osborne, Manager of Health Information & Knowledge Mobilization at or 647-521-9397.

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