Health & Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Services (Online)

There are no sessions currently scheduled for this class, the following information may be out of date.

4 weeks + 2 weeks for final project (Scroll to bottom of page for Registration link)

Class Description:

This online course defines the core competencies of providing consumer health information services and then dives directly into the essential skills and knowledge that library staff need to build those competencies. The course starts by preparing you with tools to learn the demographics and health status of people in your community. Together we will examine issues of literacy, health literacy, and the health information needs of special populations. By understanding the needs of your own community and the information-seeking behaviors of users, you will be prepared with the right tools and resources even before the questions are asked.

From there we will explore authoritative resources for just about any type of health question, whether it’s core print reference materials, quality web resources, or mobile apps and other health-related technologies. Participants will share ideas for creating fun and informative health-related programming for different age groups and special populations in the community. We will engage in discussions about the pros and cons related to the use of social networking for health questions and emotional support, and we’ll share tips for helping library users evaluate and utilize health materials they encounter on their own.

A new topic area each week will expand on familiar concepts and provide exposure to new concepts, techniques and resources to take your skills to the next level. During Week 2, participants will start to explore topic areas for their final project. Projects that are relevant to the participant's workplace are encouraged!


Learners will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of consumer health and how the library helps to build healthy communities.
  • Explain the difference between literacy and health literacy.
  • Feel comfortable and confident providing health reference to diverse users.
  • Understand the ethical and legal issues about providing health information.
  • Evaluate the quality of health information in traditional and new formats, and teach users how to recognize the elements of trustworthy materials and the warning signs of dubious health information.
  • Identify and choose authoritative health information resources that are appropriate for particular users.
  • Apply criteria for collection development of consumer health materials.
  • Plan health-related programming and events.
  • Create a relevant, implementable project for the workplace.
With completion of all required assignments, discussion, and course evaluation, participants will receive 12.0 MLA continuing education credits. This class also satisfies the requirements for Level I CHIS (Consumer Health Information Specialization) or can be applied towards Level II CHIS.

Time required:

To complete all the course requirements for the MLA CE credit, participants can expect to spend on average 3-4 hours per week. Participants may also choose to work towards a certificate of completion without CE credit, which would require about 2-3 hours per week. Each week's module contains readings and selected content, discussion questions, and assignments. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. This is a self-paced course; there are no set hours. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is strongly recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.

Cost: Free!


Week 1: Consumer Health Basics

Understanding the community
Characteristics and needs of users as they seek health information
The role and limitations of library staff as health information providers
Literacy and health literacy: definitions, implications and strategies

Week 2: Health Reference in the Real World

Unique aspects of health reference
Legal, ethical, and privacy issues
Techniques and resources for serving diverse users
Evaluation criteria and helping users evaluate health materials

Week 3: Health Resources: There's a (book, web site, app) for that

Best health websites for diseases, conditions, therapies, wellness, and more
Finding special content – multimedia, easy-to-read and multilingual materials
Choosing, evaluating, and weeding core reference and circulating materials
Guidance about using mobile technologies, apps, and social networking sites for health information

Week 4: The Library as a Healthy Place

Designing health programs of interest to users in the community
Effective promotion and marketing of health information services
How partnerships can enhance services and extend the reach of the library
Incorporating workplace wellness into your library

If you have questions about the course, please contact Kelli Ham at

There are no available sessions of this class