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Welcome to Healthy Communities!

As the first leader of this new Community of Interest, I am excited to work with all of you to develop the Healthy Communities COI into an dynamic group that promotes collaboration between libraries and other community agencies to support healthier living. Before I detail some of what our COI will be focusing on this year, let me tell you a little about myself.

I am a medical and consumer health librarian at a small hospital in western Maine. I oversee one of the MaineHealth Learning Resource Centers which provides quality health information resources as well as community outreach health education classes. I have also been an active member of our local Healthy Maine Partnership coalition to bring more opportunities for physical activity, healthy eating, smoking cessation, and substance abuse support to our service area. As the current Chair of HSLIC, our state’s professional organization for health sciences libraries, I have a good understanding of how libraries can partner with health and community agencies to benefit our residents.

Presently, The Healthy Communities COI is planning to survey our members on community collaboration issues such as librarian comfort level, experience, and barriers to collaboration. Come learn more about the Healthy Communities COI and other NN/LM NER COIs at the Tuesday afternoon breakout session at the NAHSL Conference in Connecticut.

Some future topics of discussion for our group may include:
–How medical libraries can better reach out to their communities
–How our libraries help our institutions demonstrate community benefit
–What skills librarians need to develop in themselves to be effective community collaborators
–The barriers to community collaboration and how to overcome them
–Other goals for our COI

I can foresee us eventually breaking into small task force groups working on specific projects, reviewing community outreach grant requests received by the NER, and sponsoring continuing education programs. All in all, the Health Communities COI should be a very active and stimulating group and I look forward to hearing your ideas and learning about your experiences.

You may contact me at clarkd@wmhcc.org or (207)743-1562 x6896.

Deborah Clark, MLIS, AHIP

Stephens Memorial Hospital

Norway, Maine

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