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Public Libraries and Improved Health

[Guest post from Deb Clark, Maine State Library]

Check out this radio show interview with Portland Public Library director, Steve Podgajny and Dr. Sam Zager formerly at Maine Medical Center which discusses the findings of the recent HeLPURS study showing a correlation between public library use and improvement in individual health. The HeLPURS radio interview (show #166)  will be streaming on the website at  http://themainemag.com/radio/

This important study demonstrates the value of public libraries in supporting healthy behavior change. It provides an opportunity for our libraries to show their worth to their communities as places which can assist users in their efforts to live healthier lifestyles, another way libraries strengthen their communities. Please take a few moments to listen to the program and think about how your library can provide health information and programming that promotes informed health decision-making and positive health behaviors. Here’s a summary of the study below. The results of the study are currently being prepared for publication.

Pioneering Research by Maine Physician Proves Link Between Public Library Use And Tobacco Cessation In Study Done In Collaboration With Portland Public Library

In 2010, a highly regarded group of physicians, brain scientists, social scientists, and other experts went on record with their expert opinion that public libraries likely promote health. One Maine physician has just completed the first-ever direct and broad research on the topic – and proved their instincts were on the right track.

Maine physician Dr. Sam Zager was the driving force behind the Health and Libraries of Public Use Retrospective Study (HeLPURS), the first broad investigation of health and public libraries. The study investigated whether a link between library use and health could be quantifiably established. Dr. Zager’s interest in the intersection of health and public library use grew out of his involvement in library advocacy efforts in Boston several years ago. He noticed that the prior research into health and libraries was sparse and narrowly focused on health literacy. No studies existed to determine the relationship between library use and individuals’ health profiles.

HeLPURS research was made possible through a collaboration with Portland Public Library, spearheaded by PPL’s Health and Institutional Research Teams and funded by a generous grant from the Anne Randolph Henry Charitable Foundation. Study participants were recruited from among a large pool of adult Maine Medical Center Family Medicine patients. Participants who were also PPL card holders granted permission for the Library to release information on frequency of their library use for correlation by Dr. Zager and his colleagues with their medical histories. Throughout the study, all privacy laws and human research ethics protocols as well as PPL privacy policies were strictly observed, and no personal borrowing history was ever queried.

The project results provide evidence that public library use has quantifiable associations with health, particularly in the areas of substance abuse and depression-anxiety disorders. The most dramatic finding is that moderate or higher use of public libraries is associated with tobacco cessation. Individuals who have ever been smokers and who used the library at least moderately – seven or more items checked out per active year – were nearly three times more likely to have successfully quit smoking, compared with smokers who used the library less.

“HeLPURS offers the first direct evidence that public libraries could be health-promoting spaces,” Zager says, “This was out-of-the-box thinking, but now these results beg for further research. The current findings also have important implications when estimating return on investment in public libraries in Maine and across the country.”

Zager’s sentiments are echoed by PPL Executive Director Steve Podgajny. “What the HeLPURS study does,” Podgajny observes, “is to clinically isolate a specific and very important health relationship that public libraries have with individuals and the community as a whole. The study has many ramifications one of which is how public libraries might serve more effectively as a vehicle for public health funding and goals.”

About Dr. Zager

Dr. Sam Zager is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who holds an MD from Harvard University and an M.Phil. in Economic and Social History from Oxford University. His presentation on HeLPURS won top prize at the Maine Academy of Family Physicians Annual Conference last month. Dr. Zager has been a Family Medicine Resident Physician at Maine Medical Center since 2011, and he will begin practicing Family Medicine with Martin’s Point Healthcare starting in September 2014.

Post Contributed by:

Deborah A. Clark, Consultant

Southern Maine Library District

Portland Public Library

E-mail: deborah.clark@maine.gov

 

Literature Search Strategy Week at AEA

We at the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) have previously covered the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) tip-a-day blog at http://aea365.org/blog as a helpful resource. This week posts about literature search strategies were shared on the AEA blog by Network member librarians from the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Have you been involved in a similar collaboration? Please let us know, we’d love to feature your work in a future OERC blog post!

Literature Search Strategy Week

  1. Best Databases – learn the most effective starting points for biomedical, interdisciplinary, specialized, and a handy Top Ten list of literature databases.
  2. Constructing a Literature Search – learn the value of a vocabulary roadmap, and the difference between keyword and controlled vocabulary searching.
  3. Grey Literature – strategies for understanding these non-traditional but highly valuable information resources and starting points on where to find them.
  4. Using MyNCBI – learn how to sign up for your free account, save your PubMed search strategies, receive email updates, customize your display and more.
  5. Citation Management – featuring both freely available and other options you may have access to through your academic organizations.

Addressing the Emerging Needs of the Research Ecosystem: An Invitation

The Boston Library Consortium and Digital Science invite you to attend a workshop focused on the management, dissemination, and collaboration around research data in the university.  Today’s research ecosystem is increasingly complex and includes players from many different departments and groups within the academy: research and sponsored program staff, the CIO and IT staff, library deans/directors and their scholarly communications and research data management librarians, university marketing and communications staff and, of course, the researchers themselves.

Meeting the diverse requirements of these varied groups in efficient and cost-effective ways requires that quality data are able to flow in and out of university information systems, often populating such diverse technologies as grants management systems, researcher profiles, institutional repositories, and enterprise data warehouses.  Non-traditional measures of research impact such as Altmetrics and the increasingly prevalent funder mandates create new challenges for universities as they look to ensure a robust research information management environment.

Our goal for this workshop is to assemble a representative cross-section of stakeholders from a variety of BLC institutions. The workshop will bring together experts from Digital Science, a technology company with a focus on the sciences that provides software and tools to support the research ecosystem, and speakers with direct experience of evaluating and implementing research information management systems and services. We hope you will actively encourage your colleagues to attend.

Two options are available for the workshop as indicated below. We are considering offering live-streaming of one or both sessions if there is adequate interest.

Tuesday. November 25th at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester – 10:00am – 3:00pm; lunch included

The detailed agendas for the Tufts and University of Massachusetts Medical School workshops are attached separately. Speakers will include: Jonathan Breeze, CEO of Sympletics, Mark Hahnel, CEO of figshare and the Vice Provost for Research or equivalent from a local Boston University Consortium member institution.

 

To register or for further information, send an e-mail to sstearns@blc.org indicating which of the above sessions you are interested in attending.

NLM Seeking Head of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM)-closes 11/21/14

The Head of the National Network Office of the NN/LM<http://www.nlm.nih.gov/network.html> serves as a national leader in developing collaborations among the varied types of libraries in the Network, including health sciences libraries, and academic and public institutions to improve access to and the sharing of biomedical information resources. The NNO Head is responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and advising on all aspects of providing biomedical information, for outreach to groups experiencing health disparities, and for providing access to medical information in national and international emergency and disaster situations. The NNO Head advises on public health information policy issues as related to programs conducted throughout the Network.   This is an exciting time for an incoming Head because plans for the 2016-2021 Regional Medical Library contracts are underway.

 

The very short posting time of November 7 through 21 reflects the government’s effort to hire talented people quickly. NLM seeks applicants from all sources. Please see the postings on USAJobs.gov<http://USAJobs.gov> and follow the instructions to apply. One posting is for “All US Citizens” and the other is for “Status Candidates” (Merit Promotion<http://www.opm.gov/faqs/topic/usajobs/index.aspx> andVEOA Eligibles<http://www.fedshirevets.gov/hire/hm/shav/index.aspx>).

 

NLM Supervisory Librarian – All US Citizens<https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/385828200>

 

NLM Supervisory Librarian – Status Candidates (Merit Promotion and VEOA Eligibles)<https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/385828700>

 

The jobs will also be linked from “Careers @ NLM<http://www.nlm.nih.gov/careers/careers.html>” on the NLM home page,www.nlm.nih.gov<http://www.nlm.nih.gov>.

 

In addition to an interesting, challenging work environment, NLM has a great location on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. NIH is a short Metro ride from Washington D.C. and a short walk from Bethesda’s thriving restaurant and retail district. As a supervisory librarian at the GS15 level, the position has a salary range of $124,995-$157,100, and reports to the Associate Director for Library Operations, Joyce Backus

 

If you have questions about this job please contact Sheri Ligget, PHR, 301-402-7521, or sliggett@od.nih.gov<mailto:sliggett@od.nih.gov>. Please share this job opportunity announcement with other interested lists and organizations.

For LinkedIn

 

The Head of the National Network Office of the NN/LM<http://www.nlm.nih.gov/network.html> serves as a national leader in developing collaborations among the varied types of libraries in the Network, including health sciences libraries, and academic and public institutions to improve access to and the sharing of biomedical information resources. The NNO Head is responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and advising on all aspects of providing biomedical information, for outreach to groups experiencing health disparities, and for providing access to medical information in national and international emergency and disaster situations. The NNO Head advises on public health information policy issues as related to programs conducted throughout the Network.   This is an exciting time for an incoming Head because plans for the 2016-2021 Regional Medical Library contracts are underway.

 

In addition to an interesting, challenging work environment, NLM has a great location on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. It’s short Metro ride from Washington D.C. and a short walk from Bethesda’s thriving restaurant and retail district. As a supervisory librarian at the GS15 level, the position has a salary range of $124,995-$157,100, and reports to the Associate Director for Library Operations, Joyce Backus. If you have questions about this job please contact Sheri LIgget, PHR, 301-402-7521, or sliggett@od.nih.gov<mailto:sliggett@od.nih.gov>.

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