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Outreach to Public Libraries

Primary NN/LM MAR Contact: Lydia N. Collins / Consumer Health Coordinator /

Public libraries are places of community where consumers go to seek information. Consumer health has become increasingly popular as consumers want to be informed about their health needs and continue to make health-related decisions. Whether you work in a small, large, inner-city, suburban or rural library,  consumer health is a part of the work you do.

Services Available to Libraries

NLM provides resources to help enrich your programs. Join our free membership network to take advantage of all that we have to offer.

Members are eligible to take advantage of services that include:

  • Free webinars and presentations
  • Professional development
  • Exhibiting at conferences and health fairs on free health information


Selected Resources from the National Library of Medicine

These resources are good starting points for information on health and wellness topics, drugs, and directories for locating health organizations.

  • Public Libraries and First Responders: Partners in Emergency Response
    • Public libraries are a vital part of the community and can plan an important for during an emergency or disaster
    • First responders and public library partnerships are an important partnership each community should consider
    • Many groups are unaware of what public libraries can and already do for the community and first responders
    • The goal is to show the video to first responder groups, city councils, local government, etc. to promote the role public libraries play
    • Created by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (NN/LM SCR)

Medical Information Databases

  • MedlinePlus
    • For patients, families, and friends
    • Provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand
    • Free reliable, up-to-date health information
  • NIHSeniorHealth
    • A health and wellness website for older adult, family members, and friends
    • Provides reliable, easy to understand health information
    • Includes background information, open-captioned videos, quizzes and frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • NLM Drug Information Portal
    • A gateway to selected drug information from NLM and other key U.S. Government agencies
    • Enables searches using a drug’s tradename or generic name
  • Pillbox Beta
    • Enables rapid identification of unknown solid-dosage medications (tablets/capsules) based on physical characteristics and high-resolution images
    • Provides links to drug information and drug labels
  • Genetics Home Reference
    • NLM's consumer-friendly site for information about genetic conditions, the genes or chromosomes associated with those conditions
    • Includes the effects of genetic variations on human health
  • Household Products Database
    • Includes 11,000+ consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by manufacturers
    • Enables scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients
    • Regularly updated information about federally and privately supported clinical research in human volunteers

NLM Directories and Magazines

NLM does not endorse or recommend the organizations that produce these directories, nor the individuals or organizations that are included in the directories.

  • DIRLINE (Directory of Information Resources Online)
    • NLM's database containing location and descriptive information about a wide variety of resources
    • Includes organizations, research resources, projects, and databases concerned with health and biomedicine
  • Health Hotlines
    • A database of health-related organizations operating toll-free telephone services
    • Includes information on services and publications available in Spanish
  • NIH MedlinePlus Magazine
    • Features the best in reliable, up-to-date health information with the latest breakthroughs from NIH-supported research
    • Highlights people from all walks of life talking about how they've handled their health challenges
    • Subscriptions are free