Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Improving Health Literacy, One Public Library at a Time Public resources and training programs for librarians

Marilynn Lance-Robb, branch manager at the Carvers Bay Branch Library in Georgetown, South Carolina, assists a patron with health information.Photo: Marilynn Lance-Robb

The first thing that Jennifer Davis tells patrons who come to her seeking medical information is not to Google their symptoms. “It’s the worst thing you could possibly do,” says Davis, director of Hall Memorial Library, which serves the communities of Northfield and Tilton, New Hampshire.

Instead, Davis assists patrons with their health care questions by helping them find information on Medline-Plus, an authoritative, free website where the public can find health information in more than 40 languages.
Although Davis, a former medical librarian, is familiar with health care topics, most public librarians do not necessarily have a medical background. Still they may be faced with an assortment of health-related questions from the public every day.

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