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UNTHSC Library: Working with Public Libraries

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Public libraries are struggling, not just financially but also to maintain relevancy in the digital age.  With that in mind, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library Deputy Director Lisa M. Smith began collaborating with the North Texas Regional Library Partners in 2010.

The goal: Deliver in-person classes on online health literacy to patrpons and librarians within our 24-county NN/LM SCR outreach region.  The classes would not only help public libraries in rural and urban areas offer programming to their patrons but they would also offer staff training on how to resond to queries involving health. The classes also would help market public libraries as digital hubs that the public can turn to when looking for reliable health information. North Texas Regional Library Partners and library staff members, and 31 members of the general public at 18 public libraries spread over nine North Texas counties in March contacted the libraries and set up the class dates and times.  Lisa Smith and Outreach Librarian Jessie Milligan taught  81 public librarians in April, 2011.

Classes for patrons showed them how to evaluate websites as well as how to find reliable health information online through NLM/NIH websites.  The separate classes for librarians served as guides on why to turn to NLM/NIH websites when answering reference questions about health.

Submitted by Jessie Milligan

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