Public libraries play an important role in the community year round, but during or after an emergency or disaster the public library is also an important resource for first responders. Public libraries provide important information centers in a community and are often equipped with computers, meetings spaces, and possibly access to the internet. After an emergency or disaster first responders working with their community public libraries can provide safe shelter spaces for survivors. In addition, public library technologies including computers, phones, printers, and internet access may serve as vital communication tools for survivors and first responders.
The video below was created by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Center Region (NN/LM SCR) to demonstrate how public libraries and first responders can work together to ensure community well-being and safety before and after a disaster or emergency.
Greetings all! My name is Naomi Gonzales and I am so delighted to be the newest member of the fabulous NN/LM South Central Region team as the Public Health Coordinator. I graduated in spring of 2012 with my MLS from the University of North Texas (UNT) but I’ve always had a passion for outreach and literacy. I’ve been working with the public (in all kinds of settings) since 2006 and quickly learned to love the rollercoaster ride that is creating lasting connections with community members.
For the past year, I worked as an Instructional Technologies Librarian at the Texas Medical Center Library and before that I worked with engineering and library science students at UNT, providing a variety of reference and instructional services in the library. I’m a member of the ALA Rainbow Book List committee and (true to my librarian nature) in my spare time will enthusiastically devour books in any form—including the audiobooks that often accompany me to the gym. Although reading will always be my first love, I also have more active pastimes such as yoga and the occasional attempt at being crafty. I look forward to working with and learning from such a great community of people!
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition information and education campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. This year is the 40th Anniversary of National Nutrition Month.
The National Nutrition Month 2013 website (http://www.eatright.org/nnm) has a variety of materials for education and promotion, including a reading list, health tips, games and quizzes, and links to additional resources.
Other authoritative and up-to-date sources for nutrition information include:
The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the latest round of funding opportunities:
Disaster Preparedness Award ($10,000):
The purpose of the Disaster Preparedness Award is to help libraries prepare for disasters so that they can assist their communities with health information and other recovery needs after an emergency. Approaches can include, but are not limited to, activities that will integrate the library into their community’s emergency preparedness, response and recovery plan; equipment that will allow the library to have more flexibility in responding to the Internet needs of the community; and partnerships with city emergency planning groups, hospitals, public health organizations to enhance health information access in library settings.
Electronic Consumer Health Outreach Award($25,000):
The goal of this award is to connect health professionals, their patients and the general public to the health information resources from the National Library of Medicine. This solicitation will focus on projects designed to improve access to electronic health information for such groups and organizations as consumers, the underserved and minority health care professionals, public health workers, public libraries, and community-based and faith-based organizations.
Express Outreach Award ($5,000 per project):
The purpose of the Express Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases to improve access to health information.
Health Disparities Information Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Disparities Information Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases by populations which experience significant health disparities, including, but not limited to minority, rural and other medically underserved populations.
Health Information Literacy Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Literacy Award is to support Network member projects, particularly those from community-based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and other organizations that serve minority populations, to develop innovative and creative ways to promote health literacy to these target populations.
Health Information Needs Assessment Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Needs Assessment Award is to improve health information outreach through increased knowledge of community needs. Thorough needs assessments serve to analyze community needs in depth, with respect to the community’s cultural, social, economic and physical situations. This award is designed to give organizations an opportunity to study a community in detail and to subsequently design strategies that promote the National Library of Medicine’s databases.
Hospital Library Promotion Award ($5,000):
The purpose of this award is to support projects that promote the value of the hospital library to the hospital administrators and staff. As hospitals expand their services and programs, hospital librarians can play a significant role in areas such as: education and training to address knowledge management, clinical information systems, patient safety programs, electronic health records, health literacy, or patient education.
Library Student Outreach Award (funding will cover all costs related to meeting attendance):
The award provides funding for students to attend the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) Annual Meeting in Fort Worth TX and participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the South Central Region.
Mobile Applications Project Award ($8,000):
The purpose of the Mobile Applications Project (MAP) Award is to provide an opportunity for Network members to provide outreach services and increase access to health information by utilizing mobile technologies. Projects may target health professionals, public librarians, public health workers, consumers, or the general public.
Professional Development Award($1,500 per event):
The purpose of this award is to enable individuals at NN/LM SCR Network member institutions to expand professional knowledge and experience to provide improved health information access to healthcare providers and consumers.
Technology Improvement Award ($5,000 per project):
The Technology Improvement Project (TIP) Award is intended to improve access to and increase use of free high quality health information including National Library of Medicine’s databases. It is designed to meet the health information needs of “underconnected” communities and increase access to health information services within the community.
See the NN/LM SCR Funding page for more information and for deadlines.
News about the 2012-2013 influenza (or “flu”) season has been everywhere recently. The cities of Boston and New York have declared public health emergencies, and Dr. Anthony Facui, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has indicated that we are in what is classically described as a flu epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 22,048 flu cases from September 30 – December 31, 2012, compared with 849 cases reported during the same time frame in 2011 (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/).
One of the ways librarians and information specialists can share important messages about topics such as the flu is by using social media tools to promote reliable and trustworthy health information to our clients and audiences. The Health and Human Services Media News Media Team has created suggested messages relevant to the flu. Consider how you might use them:
It takes 2 weeks after vaccination for you to be protected. Use our finder to find a #flu vaccine center near you. http://bit.ly/Soutac
Teachers-help keep your classrooms free of germs. Teach healthy habits at school to prevent flu in your classroom. http://go.usa.gov/gmfJ
There are three different types of #flu shot and a nasal spray. Which is the right one for you? http://go.usa.gov/YpKQ
Flu activity is high across most states in the US now. Learn more about preventing #flu. Visit http://www.flu.gov.
Vaccination is the best protection against #flu but vaccine may be limited in some areas. Use http://flushot.healthmap.org to locate vaccine.
Got the #flu? Don’t share it. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away. Visit http://www.flu.gov
It’s #flu season. http://www.flu.gov provides advice on caring for yourself and loved ones who are sick.
If you still need #flu vaccine, now’s the time to get vaccinated. #Flu is widespread in many states.
#FluView, a weekly report of #flu activity in the U.S., is available on the @CDCgov website at http://1.usa.gov/e30wKG
If you haven’t already been vaccinated for the flu, now’s the time. Vaccine may be limited in some areas. You may need to contact more than one provider (pharmacy, health department, or doctor) to find available vaccine. Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org for more information.
Learn more about how to care for loved ones with the flu, including people at high risk (children, seniors, and people with chronic conditions). Start by getting vaccinated, practicing healthy habits like covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and washing hands regularly. Visit http://www.flu.gov for more information.
For general information about the flu, start with the “flu” Health Topics page in MedlinePlus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/flu.html) which has good current information in many languages, including a number of new videos.
[Note: Special thanks to Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, Health Sciences Librarian, Aquilent, Inc., SIS Division of DIMRC, NLM for some of the content in this post via Disaster Information Outreach by Librarians listserv.]
World AIDS Day on 1 December brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world. The 2012 theme is: “Working Together for an AIDS-free Generation.”
In commemoration of World AIDS Day, a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looks at the alarming impact of HIV on youth (ages 13-24) and underscores the importance of HIV prevention, testing and treatment for youth. Read the report: HIV Among Youth in the US.
AIDSinfo joins people and organizations worldwide in observing World AIDS Day. The AIDSinfo and infoSIDA (Spanish version) Web sites (as services of the US Department of Health and Human Services and managed by the National Library of Medicine) offer federally-approved information on HIV research and treatment, including medical practice guidelines and treatment and prevention research studies, to health care providers, researchers, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and the general public.
Looking for more ways take action around World AIDS Day? Here are a few simple, powerful, and engaging ways:
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) funded 13 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects in September 2012 in the 19th round of the program. NLM has continued its HIV/AIDS-related outreach efforts to community-based organizations, patient advocacy groups, faith-based organizations, departments of health, and libraries. This program provides support to design local programs for improving information access for HIV/AIDS patients and the affected community as well as their caregivers. Emphasis is on providing information or access in a way meaningful to the target community. Projects must involve one or more of the following information access categories: information retrieval, skills development, Internet access, resource development, and document access.
Congratulations to the two recipients located in the South Central Region:
The Alliance of Border Collaboratives (ABC), El Paso TX
“Promovision – Capacity Building Assistance Project”
ABC seeks to expand its Promovision outreach project that improves access to HIV/AIDS related health information by patients and affected community, caregivers and the general public. Increased utilization of NLMs HIV/AIDS resources in El Paso, Texas will be achieved through skill development via training and tutorials as well as development of resources that provide meaningful information about HIV/AIDS, prevention, services and NLM HIV/AIDS resources.
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
The AIDS InfoNet is an internationally recognized online HIV/AIDS information resource to facilitate access to factsheets on the treatment of HIV/AIDS and related information written in nontechnical language and translated into several languages. The Web site enables users to easily download and print regularly updated factsheets at no cost. In addition, the Web site contains hyperlinks to authoritative HIV/AIDS resources to facilitate individual research. Based on the continued high utilization of the factsheets, AIDS InfoNet will provide ongoing maintenance of existing factsheets and develop new factsheets based on user suggestions.
Several government agencies (FEMA, Citizen Corps, CDC, and others) as well as the American Public Health Association (APHA) have once again joined to promote the month of September as National Preparedness month. As Americans remember the events of 9/11, they also encourage all Americans to prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, including infectious disease, natural disasters and other emergencies. Throughout the month, more than 3,000 organizations nationwide are supporting efforts to help Americans prepare in case of emergency, with many events culminating on “Get Ready Day, ” September 18th (see http://www.getreadyforflu.org/ ).
This year’s West Nile virus outbreak is on track to be the biggest ever since the virus first appeared in the United States in 1999, U.S. health officials reported Wednesday.
As of the third week of August, there have been a total of 1,118 cases of West Nile virus in people in 38 states, including 41 deaths.
In Texas, which has been hardest hit by the epidemic, 586 cases have been reported with 21 deaths, said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Officials in Dallas County, Texas, began aerial spraying of insecticides overnight last Thursday. Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma have also been hit hard by West Nile virus this summer.
Experts do not know why this year’s outbreak is so much worse than previous years, but suspect it could be a confluence of factors, most notably hot weather. Generally speaking, 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus develop no or few symptoms, while 20 percent develop mild symptoms such as headache, joint pain, fever, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Less than 1 percent will develop neurological illnesses, such as encephalitis or meningitis, and develop paralysis or cognitive difficulties that can last for years, if not for life.
There are no specific treatments for West Nile virus; the greatest risk for infection with West Nile virus typically occurs from June through September, with cases peaking in mid-August.
The best way to protect yourself from West Nile virus is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, which can pick up the disease from infected birds. The CDC recommends the following steps to protect yourself:
Use insect repellents when outside.
Wear long sleeves and pants from dawn to dusk.
Don’t leave standing water outside in open containers, such as flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools.
Librarians with an interest in public health, make this the year you attend the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Stipends funded by The Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund for this purpose will be awarded to at least 11 librarians in 2012. This year’s APHA meeting will take place in San Francisco, CA from October 27 – 31, 2012. Its theme is Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span.