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Health Information Resources Training for Community College Librarians

by Stephen Kiyoi, Second Year NLM Associate Fellow
NN/LM Pacific Southwest Region
UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library

During the month of April, 2012, the RML offered a newly developed training series targeting community college librarians. The series, entitled Navigating the Health Information Maze, was offered in a set of four, one-hour webcasts every Tuesday during the month. Twenty-nine librarians from 24 different institutions took advantage of the opportunity to gain expertise in National Library of Medicine resources; including PubMed, MedlinePlus, the NLM Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites, and Health Information for Special Populations. Additional information about the series and archived training sessions are available from the preceding series website. Outreach to community colleges is a major NN/LM initiative for the coming year.

Image of the Navigating the Health Information Maze libguide

Why Outreach to Community Colleges?

The National Library of Medicine recognizes the vital role community colleges play in educating new allied health professionals. The California Community College System (CCCS) is the nation’s largest higher education system, consisting of 112 institutions with more than 3.9 million students. One out of every four community college students in the United States is enrolled in a California Community College. Like many community colleges across the country, the CCCS plays an integral role in educating new allied health professionals; more than 70% of the nurses, and 80% of emergency medical technicians in California received their education from the CCCS. These students, as well as community college students in Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii, should be equipped with the resources and skills to answer clinical and research questions that arise in their workplaces.

Are Community College Librarians Interested in Health Information Resources Training?

Yes, they are! In late 2011, the RML distributed a survey to nearly all CCCS libraries, which showed that a majority of respondents (28 of 30) have at least one allied health program at their institution, and most librarians provide trainings or services to allied health students on at least a monthly basis. However, many respondents indicated that they hardly ever or never use Pubmed (19/30) or MedlinePlus (18/30). Encouragingly, nearly all respondents (26/30) indicated that they would be interested in training in either consumer health or biomedical research.

What are Future Plans for Outreach to Community Colleges in the Region?

With the upcoming National Initiative for Community College Outreach, the RML plans to collaborate with the other NN/LM Regions to pursue outreach to community colleges and their librarians. The RML has collected feedback from training participants, and will utilize this input to continue offering new and improved versions of Navigating the Health Information Maze on a regular basis.

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