Your Library Community Health Program for Breast Cancer Prevention

Case Example

Let's say your library wants to help your community address topical medical and public health issues. Given the broad range of topics in medicine and health, how can you narrow the scope and develop a focused program?

From your community assessment, you know that Your Town is concerned about an increasing incidence of breast cancer. A study done by a local non-profit health organization found that a significant number of women in low-income households are not taking preventative action to reduce their risks of the disease. They need awareness of ways to reduce risk, and knowledge of resources to inform and help, so they feel more confident about taking action to prevent breast cancer.

Your library decides to partner with a local hospital library and public health department. Together with your partners, you begin planning a program to improve breast cancer prevention. The first steps in planning include identifying the project goal and activities, the intended outcomes, and the corresponding indicators.

Goal: To provide women with instruction, resources and assistance in finding affordable and convenient access to information, services and programs so that they can successfully participate in prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

In other words your project is aiming for changes in knowledge and behavior by the participating women, based on the activities you choose to develop.

Your partnership decides to develop objectives for several activities:

  • Conduct community classes about breast cancer prevention
  • Enhance library web sites about resources (local and national) regarding breast cancer screening and detection
  • Educate public librarian reference staff in the use of health information resources to answer questions about breast cancer.

To monitor progress in conducting these activities, you define several outputs that will measure the amount, quality, or volume of use, such as:

  • Three breast cancer awareness classes for the community
  • Increase in the use of library website resources regarding breast cancer
  • One inservice instructional session for public librarians about answering health information questions

As a result of these activities, the project hopes to achieve the following result:

Outcome: Participants who attend the community classes and/or use the website for information will be more empowered to take steps to prevent breast cancer.

One indicator to measure the outcome "empowerment" could be:

Indicator: Participating women will report that the classes or the website will help them make personal health decisions about breast cancer regarding what they will do to reduce their own risk.