Award Report – Rochester Regional Library Council offers MedlinePlus/Health Information Resources Classes for Member Libraries
The Rochester Regional Library Council (RRLC) is a multi-type library network serving libraries and library systems in the Rochester, N.Y. region. RRLC members include school, public, academic and special libraries. The training grant awarded by the NN/LM offered the RRLC the opportunity to reach those members who were not necessarily familiar with using MedlinePlus and other NLM resources. Three classes, which varied in format, provided hands-on training and take-home instructional material that could be shared with colleagues and patrons. These classes were scheduled over a period of three months, from August-November, 2007.
The first session was part of the popular “Summer School for School Librarians” series targeted to school librarians. Offered during August to attract school librarians “on vacation”, this session focused on MedlinePlus, demonstrating its usefulness for consumer health related questions. Other NLM databases, including PubMed, Clincial Trials.gov and the Toxnet group of resources were also presented.
In a post-class evaluation, one of the librarians in attendance expressed her newly discovered knowledge of MedlinePlus as a wonderful source of consumer health information: “I appreciate the different facets of this extensive database and the class notebook contributed to remind me of the various facets of MedlinePlus. I was already able to share this with a colleague.”
The second session was offered as part of RRLC’s regular Monday Pizza Night series. The Pizza Night series presents a different topic every week with librarians and other “experts” as presenters who provide information in an informal, friendly environment (with free pizza!) “Pizza and Health Resources, featuring MedlinePlus” again focused on accessing MedlinePlus for consumer health questions, with emphasis on the type of questions asked by patrons in the public library. PubMed, Clinical Trials.gov and Toxnet were described, using examples that might typically occur in a public library setting.
The third session, “Consumer Health Information: Resources from NLM, NYS and Rochester”, included extensive coverage of the MedlinePlus database, a description of PubMed and ClincialTrials.gov and Toxnet. This expanded, three-hour session also included presentations from Carole Joyce, Project Director of CLIC-on-Health and Mary Ann Howie, Wellness Librarian, Stabins Wellness Information Center, Rochester General Hospital.
Carole Joyce described how CLIC-on-Health is a RRLC administered project that brings together libraries, health organizations and associations, healthcare delivery systems and educational institutions in order to provide the greater Rochester area with high-quality healthcare information and resources. CLIC-on-Health includes a web portal with information that is specific to Rochester health care, and also includes in its interface the ability to search MedlinePlus and retrieve information from this resource.
Mary Ann Howie described how she utilizes MedlinePlus, as well as other NLM databases, to provide free service to the public (including libraries) through the Stabins Wellness Information Center, Rochester General Hospital. During this session, emphasis was placed on how the librarians in attendance could work with area health sciences librarians, developing partnerships through their use of MedlinePlus and the NLM resources. Attendees indicated the value of hearing from librarians who use these health resources on a regular basis. One attendee stated “The binder and handouts and the multiple presenters made everything very easy to understand and you left feeling empowered with knowledge to pass on to patrons.” Training materials created through this program are available for RRLC member libraries.
Through this series of classes our member libraries will be better able to use NLM’s consumer health resources and promote them to their patrons. Improving access to quality health information is the rewarding result of the communication between RRLC’s public, school and health sciences library members.
Catherine Allen and Mary Ann Howie during RRLC’s classes in the MARquee.
Barbara Ciambor- Rochester Regional Library Council, Fairport, N.Y.