Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population struggles with low literacy--and low health literacy. The inability to read, understand, and effectively utilize health information is linked to higher levels of chronic disease, more frequent emergency room visits, and early mortality. The cost and quality of care implications are enormous, and health literacy is a hot topic for policy makers and researchers--and for libraries struggling to respond to patrons’ unmet health information needs.
This authoritative MLA guide will help you understand the vital role that medical, hospital, public, and health libraries are uniquely qualified to play in improving health literacy. You will learn innovative ways to use collection development, the reference interview, community health information, and Web resources, as well as strategies for working with special needs populations, including seniors, the disabled, ESL groups, and people of diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Case studies illustrate best practices, including ways to partner with health care providers and other organizations to create and fund health literacy programming in your community and make your library a vital player in this increasingly important information needs area.