Pew recently reported that health information is the second most searched online topic (1). Public libraries are on the frontlines of health information needs of their communities. Public libraries are often the only access to computers and/or broadband in their communities and are a trusted institution (2). Technology and media literacy are important aspects of health literacy. Over 75% of those seeking health information start a search engine and don’t check the date or the source of the information they encounter! (3).
October is health literacy month and a great time to step up your health game at your library. Some ideas:
- Add a class on finding evidence based reliable health information online or evaluating health news headlines. You don’t even need to start from scratch, MedlinePlus has some great resources and handouts that are easy to use!
- Add some health and wellness programs at your library. The possibilities are endless – memory cafes, yoga, movie and discussion, end of life care panels, healthy cooking, nutrition, community fitness, stress relief.
- Please share your ideas in the comments!
- Health Happens in Libraries from Webjunction
- Health Literacy Toolkit from Libraries Transform ALA
- Free Webinar on Libraries Transform: Health Literacy Toolkit (Registration Required)
- Health Literacy Month website
- Horrigan, J.B. (2016) . Information Overload. Pew Research Center.
- Bertot, J. C., Mcdermott, A., Lincoln, R., Real, B., & Peterson, K. (2012). Public Library Funding and Technology Access Survey : Survey Findings and Results. College Park, MD.
- Mackert, M., Mabry-Flynn, A., Champlin, S., Donovan, E. E., & Pounders, K. (2016). Health Literacy and Health Information Technology Adoption: The Potential for a New Digital Divide. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(10), e264.