Promoting Individual and Community Health at the Library

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

Though today’s consumers have unprecedented access to health information, its quality and veracity varies widely. Public libraries can play an important role in supporting library users in their health information seeking efforts. In this book Flaherty shows how to guide library users to high quality health information by relying on up to date, authoritative sources. She also demonstrates why taking the initiative to offer health promotion programming can be a valuable form of community outreach, serving community needs while increasing visibility. Library directors, programming staff, reference librarians, and health educators will all benefit from this book’s patron-centered stance, which features

  • a historic overview of the consumer health movement and how it intersects with public libraries;
  • guidance on finding and evaluating the best print, electronic, and app-based health information sources, with advice on keeping up to date;
  • an in-depth look at collaborative efforts to provide and sponsor simple health-related activities in public libraries, spotlighting programs in action at libraries across the county;
  • instructions on creating, planning, preparing, marketing, and evaluating a public library health program;
  • discussions of important issues surrounding health information provision efforts, including patron privacy and liability concerns; and
  • guidelines for public libraries’ role in public health efforts, including disaster preparedness.

Armed with this book’s expert advice and plentiful examples of successful initiatives, public libraries will feel empowered to make a difference in community members’ health and well-being.

List of Figures and Tables

Chapter 1    Introduction
Chapter 2     Public Libraries and Consumer Health: A Historic Perspective
Chapter 3    Health Information Provision in Public Libraries
Chapter 4    Health Programming in Public Libraries
Chapter 5     Reaching out to the Community: Opportunities for Wider Engagement
Chapter 6    Looking Ahead: Future Opportunities
Chapter 7     Onward and Upward


Mary Grace Flaherty

Mary Grace Flaherty is currently an assistant professor at the School of Information & Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she teaches in the graduate library program. Her courses include Resource Selection and Evaluation; Management Issues for Small Libraries; Disaster Planning for Libraries; Health Sciences Information; Proposal Development; Seminar in Popular Materials; and Seminar in Public Libraries. Dr. Flaherty received her PhD in Information Science & Technology from Syracuse University where she was an IMLS Fellow. She has her MLS from the University of Maryland and MS in Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University. She has over 25 years’ experience working in a variety of library settings, including academic, medical research, special, and public.

"This is a well-researched and well-written book that librarians in almost all types of libraries will find very useful. Recommended."

"Flaherty—who is on the faculty at the University North Carolina and has extensive experience in a range of library settings, including public, academic, and medical research—brings a concise, practical approach to his subject. No health or science background is required of the reader; Flaherty's audience is generalists and library administrators."

"People should have access to information resources to enable them to make informed health care decisions. Therefore, it is important that librarians engage with community patrons concerning health information ... This book is a must have for all public libraries. Especially those with a consumer health collection. I believe all librarians, no matter their subject area, can benefit from this book."
— Against the Grain