Access to current and reliable health information is imperative for the well-being of all Americans, and public libraries are frequently a go-to resource as people navigate complex issues of health care, insurance, aging and more.
A new nationwide initiative from the Public Library Association (PLA) and National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) will increase public library workers’ knowledge and skills related to consumer health services.
Throughout the nine-month Promoting Healthy Communities initiative, PLA and NNLM will assess health information needs among public librarians and share free resources and professional development opportunities that will help public library staff better serve their patrons’ consumer health needs. In early 2018, the initiative will unveil a new website for public libraries that gives them easy access to training, tools and resources for consumer health information, health literacy programming and more.
The initiative will increase the capacity of public libraries to provide quality health reference services by holding training programs and webinars, publishing articles and podcasts about successful library programs, and helping dozens of library staff gain the Certified Health Information Specialization credential.
NNLM offers a wealth of resources to public libraries, including “program in a box” kits that libraries can use to engage their communities on specific health copies, such as health outreach, nutrition and food labels, and health insurance; funding opportunities and awards available to public libraries; and microlearning videos to inform library staff about NNLM resources. Wyoming is served by the NNLM’s MidContinental Region office.
The American Library Association (ALA) and NNLM recently unveiled a free Health Literacy Toolkit with customizable tools to raise awareness of how libraries support health literacy in their communities, including key messages, program ideas and downloadable marketing materials.