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Announcing the 2nd Edition of the Consumer Health Toolkit!

The 2nd Edition of the popular resource Finding Health and Wellness @ the Library: A Consumer Health Toolkit for Library Staff has been published. This updated version of the Toolkit is available on the California State Library website at the same URL as the original version. The Toolkit is a comprehensive professional development resource for librarians and library staff, to build their competencies in providing excellent consumer health services to users.

Image of the 2nd edition of the Consumer Health Toolkit

The Toolkit was originally designed as a dynamic tool that could evolve and grow over time.

  • The target audience is all library staff (not just librarians).
  • The basis of the Toolkit is a set of eight Core Competencies.
  • Resources in the Toolkit support the efforts to build the skills and knowledge as identified in the core competencies.
  • Sections are based on learning objectives.
  • The Toolkit promotes the concept of libraries as models of healthy places which would positively impact the health of the entire community.
  • The Health Resources section focuses on health, wellness, and prevention.
  • Each health resource included in the toolkit meets high quality criteria.

What’s New in the 2nd edition?

Every resource in the Toolkit was checked and evaluated for currency and relevance. Dozens of resources were no longer available, while others had new web addresses. All new resources were reviewed and chosen with strict quality criteria. Content of the new edition includes:

  • 65 new resources
  • 145 updated annotations and/or URLs
  • 74 obsolete entries removed
  • Updated acronyms list with links to organizations
  • New emphasis on MedlinePlus content
  • New content types (health check tools and mobile content)
  • List of training videos about finding information on MedlinePlus
  • Enhancements to the Evaluation page, including a discussion about the HONcode

About the Toolkit

Since its publication in 2010, the Toolkit has enjoyed heavy usage nationwide and is regarded as an essential guide for librarians and staff to build and improve core competencies in consumer health. It is used as the course textbook for the NN/LM online class, Finding Health and Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Services, and it has been used as the textbook for library school courses and other consumer health trainings. Additionally, libraries have utilized selected Toolkit content for the health section on their websites.

The Toolkit is divided into six sections. Depending on the library staff person’s position or role, some sections may hold more appeal than others. The final document is 93 pages in length; there is something of interest for every library staff member in this resource. For a good overview of each of the sections, please see this Latitudes article from September 2010.

Interactive Content

The Toolkit is an interactive PDF document about 2MB in size. For best efficiency and usability, users may download a copy of the document and access it from their computer hard drive using Adobe Reader rather than the web. While it can be used from the web site, each time a link is accessed the document reloads into the browser window. It can be time-consuming if you have a slow connection or if you are looking at several links. The Toolkit is designed for ease of use. Links and icons help users navigate to selected parts of the document, and to quickly identify resources in different formats or content type. The toolkit now contains several entries for mobile apps and sites in addition to health check tools, and two new icons were added to help users identify these new content types.

Image of icons indicating types of formats used in the toolkit with two new icons circled

All web addresses are hyperlinked, and clicking on a link will take the user to the web page or site. Sections in the Table of Contents are linked to the appropriate page where the section begins. Another common feature is the use of small Helpful Tip boxes. These text boxes include bits of information relevant to the section, as a way to provide added value throughout the Toolkit.

Acronyms Appendix

Many of the resources in the Toolkit come from organizations that use acronyms. To avoid repetitive listings of full organization names, the full name of an organization is listed along with its associated acronym in parenthesis the first time it appears in each section. In most cases, subsequent annotations from the same agency would refer to the organization by its acronym. To help users identify unfamiliar acronyms in the Toolkit, an entire list is included in the Appendix.

Feedback and Updates

Several of the new resources included in the 2nd edition were suggested by library staff from all over the country. We are very interested in ways to improve the Toolkit and to know what is most useful. Please feel free to send comments and suggestions for future inclusions. Additionally, the @healthtoolkit Twitter account will be used to announce new resources on a semi-regular basis and to provide updates. Follow us for the latest news about the Toolkit! For questions about the Toolkit, contact Kelli Ham, NN/LM PSR Consumer Health Librarian.

Note: You may need to download Adobe Reader to your computer in order to access the PDF format of the Consumer Health Toolkit.

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