Background:   The Clinical Librarian (CL) Service at Brighton was established in 2003 with the aim of providing high-quality evidence to designated teams and fostering an evidence-based culture.

Objective:   To evaluate the CL service at Brighton and discuss the implication of the findings.

Methods:   A combination of internally collected data (n = 167), and an external evaluation of the service by questionnaires (n = 86) of users and non-users and interviews (n = 9) of users.

Results:   Internal data suggest that the service is valued by its users and that patient care and continuing professional development are the most common uses for searches (confirmed by the external study); that searches generally result in some change in knowledge; and that this knowledge is disseminated. The external study found that visibility of the CL was crucial to the effectiveness of the role and that clinicians used the service mostly to get access to a wider range of resources and/or to save time. Users wanted the CL to include evaluative annotation with the results, and for the CL role to become more embedded in the team. Interview results expanded on the issues of integration of the CL and the need for annotation of results.

Conclusions:   To be most effective, CLs would be dedicated to one team, but financial constraints make this unlikely. Alternative working patterns are suggested as a possible compromise.