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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

Ayer Library: Story-time Garden

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015


[Guest post by Samantha Benoit]

The Ayer Library has been hosting a weekly story-time every Thursday for many years, it is during this time that we, as a librarians, try to expose this rambunctious group of toddlers to a variety of life experiences. With the introduction of STEM the library has been trying to incorporate science based events into its weekly story-time program. In early spring we had the idea to plant a garden with kids, and give them the experience of caring for, and growing plants.

The inspiration for this program stemmed from a number of families who lamented the fact they would not be able to plant a garden of their own. Many of the families in Ayer rent either apartments or houses, and cannot cultivate gardens on their property. Most of the staff however grew-up having gardens, and learned how to care for and harvest plants. We thought that planting a garden at the library would be a way to provide this learning experience for the kids, and it fit in nicely with the STEM programming we had been encouraging.

We had decided upon a raised bed for the garden, for easy maintenance, and so we would not have to ruin the library’s lawn. The bed is 4ftx6ft, and 7in. deep, and made from a few boards of untreated wood, and was built by the library staff. We lined the bottom with newspaper to prevent the grass from growing through, and then it was filled with soil. When buying plants for the garden, we kept in mind that we wanted the kids to interact with the plants, so a variety of vegetables were purchased, as well as herbs that had distinctive smells. From this planning we have a number of easy to grow vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, green beans and cucumbers, as well as herbs like mint, rosemary and lavender.

There were two programs running on the day of planting, one where a small group of kids planted and another where the kids were able to learn about worms. Since worms are essential to a garden’s health, we felt it was important of the kids to be able to have some hands on experience with them. This also broke up the group into two smaller and much easier to handle groups for planting. The worms were later released into the garden. Many of the kids loved planting the garden and continue to check on it each week. They like to report on how big their plants have grown. The parents have also shown an interest in the garden’s progress, which is encouraging. Other patrons have been asked to become involved in this project, we leave watering cans by the garden so that everyone can help take care of it. We have tried to make this a community effort, and it has been very successful, and we will definitely continue this project in the next few years.

Samantha Benoit, MLIS – Young Adult Librarian

Amy Leonard, M.Ed – Children’s Librarian

Christina Zoller – Assistant Children’s Librarian



Healthnet News

Friday, September 18th, 2015

[Guest post by Wendy Urciuoli]

Hello everyone:

Just under the end-of-summer deadline… Whew!!

The current issue of HEALTHNET News focuses on America’s overconsumption of medical services and its adverse consequences. The issue also discusses how decision aids are helping patients choose how much care and what kind of care is right for them. Online resources for decision aids are included.

Here is the link to our summer issue:



OFFICE: 860.679.4047 | FAX: 860.679.1068

MedlinePlus Library Directory

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

New Header for MedlinePlus

Did you know that MedlinePlus includes a Library Directory?  If you provide health information services for the public, your library can be featured in the directory.

If your library is a full member, you can add your library to the MedlinePlus Library Directory via your DOCLINE account. Check out this DOCLINE FAQ MedlinePlus Library Directory for specific directions.  If your library is an affiliate members (public library or other library without DOCLINE), please contact Meredith Solomon to request that your library is added to the MedlinePlus Library Directory.



It’s Summertime . . . and the Reading is Easy

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

[Guest post by Cara Marcus, MSLIS, AHIP, Director of Library Services, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital]

During the splendid days of summer, our thoughts shift to vacations, relaxing at the beach or by the pool, sipping lemonade on a chair on the porch as a gentle breeze passes by, and an enthralling book to read and lose oneself in.  So where do you find a great summer reading book?  At your local health sciences library, of course!

At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, our Medical Library and Patient/Family Resource Center regularly host BookTalks throughout the year.  They are open to all staff, volunteers, patients, family members, and the community.  During the summer, BookTalks include topics that invite reflection and relaxation, such as Learning to Dance with the Dragonfly: Healing Lessons of Nature, Hope in the Midst: 30 Devotions of Comfort and Inspiration, and 100 Quotations to Make You Think.  These talks are only a half-hour in length, suitable for staff to come during their lunch or break, and for patients before or after an appointment.  I introduce the books, and participants take turns reading passages and often view beautiful illustrations or photos.  The talks lead to spirited interactions and discussions, and yes, many people want to read the books.

Since 2014, I have facilitated a summertime community read for BWFH’s Cultural Competence Steering Committee entitled “One Book: One Hospital”.  Each year, the committee selects a book focusing on a different culture – last year’s choice was My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, and this year’s selection is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  The program includes in-person and social media book discussion sessions, open house tables with raffles to win the book, table tent signs in the cafeteria with book discussion questions to get people reading and talking about the book, and immersion into the book’s culture with food, music, art, and more.  This year’s program has been so successful that the book has been checked out over two dozen times, and even with twelve books in the collection, there has been a waiting list all summer.

We also hold periodic special BookTalks when a member of the hospital staff publishes a book of interest to the general public.  These wonderful programs are of great interest to the whole community.  We’ve held talks on The Origin of the Human Mind, If You Felt Like I Did, You’d Start Running, and The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management.  The authors themselves lead these special BookTalks, with the added bonus of having an expert Q&A session included in the program.  We’re ending this summer with a very special program by a BWFH surgeon – Dr. Onali Kapasi, who will be reading from his book of poetry, Mind’s Eye: A Vision into the Depths of Consciousness.  Of course, NER’Eastah readers are invited – the poetry reading will be held on September 21, 2015 at 7 pm in Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Huvos Auditorium (directions).  Hope to see you there!

If you want to get started hosting similar programs in your library, here are some tips:

  • Visit some BookTalks and book discussion groups in your area. Your local public library probably has some that you can participate in.
  • Learn about how to start your own group, develop questions, and promote the program. The American Library Association has some excellent resources.
  • Comb your collection for fascinating and unique titles. Don’t forget your e-books – we’ve had some great BookTalks with e-books by passing around the library Nook.  Make sure that you enjoy the book you are presenting!
  • You don’t even have to own the book in your library to host a program – you can ask participants to purchase a copy or borrow a copy from their local library.
  • Find departments or groups in your organization to champion the program. You may even be invited to present a book at a staff meeting and have a ready-made audience.  Public Affairs and Marketing departments always have great ideas and can help you spread the word about your program.
  • Practice with your staff or volunteers (or even your own family or friends) before going live with your book discussion group.
  • At the end of each session, ask participants what other books they’d like to read – it’s never too early to start planning for next summer.

Happy reading!

By Cara Marcus, MSLIS, AHIP
Director of Library Services, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital

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