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Updated: 4 hours 46 min ago


Mon, 2020-03-30 11:42







The first one was ten years ago. Scientists were trying to engage American students in community events so that they would learn what science has taught us about drug use and addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse or better known as NIDA was the sole organization involved with this annual event and reached out to just Americans back then. Today,  National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) has grown considerably because it has a many other federal partners such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students in the U.S. Department of Education, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in the U.S. Department of Justice. The collaboration of these partners has brought this important information to teens in countries all over the world.

From Monday, March 30, through Sunday, April 5 students will have the opportunity to engage with scientists and other experts in the field of addiction to dispel myths about drugs and addiction teens may have received from sources that are not always credible like the internet, their friends, movies, music and social media. This week of focused attention on drugs and alcohol will provide information and many free materials to educate young people about how drugs affect the brain, body and behaviors.

NDAFW will be different this year because of our response to COVID-19. In lieu of in-person events and activities, NIDA encourages virtual participation.

The following information about the virtual events and resources is taken directly from the  webpage. Use the links to participate in  the countless activities that teens, parents, caregivers, and teachers can do that don’t involve leaving the house.

Here’s a list of our favorite activities:

  • Playing the new Kahoot! games with an online class or encouraging students to play the games individually.
  • Taking the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge. Test students’ knowledge about drugs and alcohol with this short, interactive quiz available in English and Spanish that can be used on mobile devices. More than 200,000 people took the IQ Challenge last year.
  • Join NDAFW by sharing why you want to
    Learn more

Sharing the facts on social media. Tweet, snap, or post. Social media platforms can be powerful tools to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol. Use the new “Not everyone’s doing it” social media cards and hand-held placards.

  • Participating in the Drug Facts Challenge!, an interactive game using scientific facts about the brain and addiction, marijuana, vaping, and more.
  • Join the NDAFW Tweetstorm on Monday, March 30 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. Help us get #NDAFW to trend on Twitter by sharing messages about drugs and alcohol during the planned hour.
  • On Friday, April 3, at 3 p.m. EDT, NIDA will host a Twitter Trivia Challenge in collaboration with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Anyone can test their knowledge by following the hashtag #NDAFW and answering multiple-choice questions about drugs and alcohol.

Taking advantage of the free, science-based resources to use in classrooms and communities, or at home. These include toolkits and activity ideas on various topics; science- and standards-based classroom lessons and multimedia activities on teens and drugs; and the recently updated Mind Matters series, which helps teachers explain to students the effects of various drugs on the brain and body.

  • NIDA Toolkit for Out of School Time. This toolkit offers science-based activities and resources on drug use and addiction for educating teens during out of school time (OST). The OST setting—before and after school, in the summer, or any time teens attend a supervised program outside of the typical school time—offers a unique opportunity for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning.
Categories: RML Blogs

Citizen Science Resources in New England

Tue, 2020-03-24 18:54


April is Citizen Science Month.  The NNLM and Scistarter have paired up at to bring Citizen Science Projects to your library and your home.  There many projects that can be done outside while practicing social distancing or in the home.  When taking a walk maybe you would want to be a part of the Debris Tracker, or play online games such Stall Catchers or indoor science experiments such as Crowd the Tap.

Listed below are links for local citizen science projects that can be found in each New England State.  Get inspired and have fun exploring your environment and your health.



Connecticut Fund for the Environment Save the Sound

Connecticut Audubon

Connecticut Wildlife Division Citizen Science / Volunteer Opportunities



Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Citizen Science Portal The Citizen Science Manual

University of Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H

Schoodic Institute Acadia National Park



Mass Audubon

NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Citizen Science

MA Citizen science: Wildlife observation

Zoo New England Citizen Science


New Hampshire

Nature Groupie Citizen Science Experiences


Rhode Island

Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Natural History



Citizen Scientists: Making a World of Difference

State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Vermont Center for Ecostudies

North Branch Nature Center



Categories: RML Blogs

Boston Public Library at PLA

Wed, 2020-03-18 08:43

This is a guest blog post from Elissa C. Cadillic, the Training Coordinator at Boston Public Library. Elissa received a professional development award to attend the Public Library Association (PLA) Meeting in Nashville, TN February 25-29, 2020.

Thanks to a professional development grant from NNLM, I was able to attend PLA 2020. While I’ve been to ALA, this was my first PLA conference and I enjoyed the experience.  My first workshop focused on Cultural Humility, learning what it is and how it varies from Cultural Competence.  I’ve been looking for different ways to provide quality and effective training opportunities on diversity and this workshop gave me a good starting point.  Understanding that normal for one person may not be for another opens up lines of communication and hopefully leads to acceptance.   One of my favorite parts was listening to a conversation with Stacy Abrams.  So inspiring! The rest of the week I attended various workshops on Opioids in Libraries, Onboarding, Customer Service, the Changing Role of the MLS, and in a look ahead to Dudley’s kitchen space, a program on Culinary Workforce Development.  In my opinion I think the best exhibitor was from Edible Education who demonstrated a fully working interactive kitchen cart and has a nutrition-based education guide including recipes and a hydroponics unit, “Little Farm”.  I did get to spend some time wandering around Nashville listening to some great bands and visiting the full-size replica of the Parthenon and the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park.   I’m looking forward to using the knowledge and experiences and applying them in my work.

Elissa C. Cadillic

Categories: RML Blogs

NLM Resources for Kids and Families

Tue, 2020-03-17 10:49
A page from the kids' graphic medicine book El Deafo by Cece Bell.

El Deafo by Cece Bell from the NLM History of Medicine Exhibit, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

Whether it’s a snow day, summer vacation or kids are home sick, having educational materials ready can help keep the whole family busy.  Below are science and health resources to engage kids and help them continue to learn even when they’re not in the classroom.

  • NNLM Middle Atlantic Region has curated resources for K-12 students with topics ranging from genetics to environmental health to careers.
  • Visit the MedlinePlus Children’s Page to find links to kid friendly resources from the CDC, NIH and other trusted resources. Links also include online games.
  • Did you know that the NLM History of Medicine Exhibition Program has lesson plans for K-12 and college students for their traveling exhibits? Traveling Exhibit topics range from literature (including one on Harry Potter), to History and Social Studies, to Science and Technology.
  • Are you interested in learning about the scientific method and participating in real studies? NLM has partnered with SciStarter to curate citizen science projects that are have a health focus.

Other ideas for fun and educational activities include #ColorOurCollection free coloring pages from libraries and museums around the world, including this coloringbook from NLM, and musuem virtual tours.

While using resources online, it’s a good time to work on critical thinking skills to evaluate health information and resources online.  Teach kids to practice these skills with the checklist from Trust it or Trash.

Categories: RML Blogs

15-40 Connection 3 Steps Detect in Massachusetts Vocational/Technical High Schools

Thu, 2020-03-05 08:53

business card and button from 15-40.orgIn 2018-2019, NER provided funding to 15-40 Connection to support the 3 Steps Detect program at Massachusetts vocational and technical high schools.  This blog post is an excerpt from the final report submitted to NER in May 2019.

The goal for this project was to establish program partnerships to teach 3 Steps Detect and share National Network of Libraries of Medicine and MedlinePlus resources, with a focus on Massachusetts Vocational/Technical Schools. Key contacts were identified as staff connected with health teachers, Health Track program directors, and/or Wellness Department Chairs. 15-40 Connection established communication with these contacts through emails, phone calls, and conferences.

In the implementation phase, to maintain consistency across all locations, the same Powerpoint presentation was used for all high school audiences. The presentation includes stories and lessons from cancer survivors in either live speaker of video format, as well as tips and suggestions for practicing the 3 Steps Detect. The presentations conclude with talking points for MedlinePlus as a trusted resource for health information, as well as handouts with listed as a resource. In the case of the Train-the-Trainer model, teachers were given access to the Powerpoint and presentation script, as well as supplemental materials (worksheets, handouts, and activities) which could be used during the lesson implementation.

The largest challenge to this project came in the scheduling phase. We had hoped to complete education in more Vocational schools within the grant timeline, however getting the schools to commit to a date proved to be a challenge. While there was genuine interest in our program from many of the contacts we connected with, many schools were focused on other current problems such as the opioid crisis and vaping.

We found that many of our program partners were inspired to engage with the education in a more meaningful way. They identified with our mission to share early detection education with as many people as possible, and found creative ways to extend the education into their wider community. Students at Lunenburg High School designed and created bulletin boards and digital posters to be shared on TV screens around the school. Nursing students at Worcester State University broke up into groups and shared 3 Steps Detect through tablings, interactive activities, and education sessions both on- and off-campus. These projects allowed early detection education to reach beyond our original target audience and impact the wider school community.

15-40 Connection is saving and improving lives through education. By learning how to recognize potential symptoms, when to act on those symptoms, and how to advocate for themselves with healthcare providers, students are empowered. Our programs are reaching audiences at a vulnerable age, and giving student health skills that they will be able to use for life. We are also providing trusted resources and relevant articles through our partnership with NNLM, including online, printed, and verbal references encouraging people to use MedlinePlus.

15-40 Connection teaches young people to detect cancer

Categories: RML Blogs

Just the Facts Ma’m! COVID-19

Fri, 2020-02-28 14:11



“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country.” Dr. Nancy Messonnier stated at a news conference about COVID-19 given on Tuesday 2/25/2020. Dr. Messonnier is the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

For this month’s blog post I had hoped to write about nutrition since March is nutrition month. However, with so much public attention and media coverage being given to COVID-19, organizations like NLM take their mission of improving public health by making trustworthy health information available to everyone, very seriously. Therefore, it seems important to us here in the NER to give you another place you can go to and get up-to-date health information, based on facts, about the coronavirus outbreak.

This week’s blog post will address some COVID-19 questions we have heard. We hope to provide you with answers and some useful resources you can use to get the latest fact-based information about this coronavirus.

What is coronavirus?

It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

 How many people and what countries have been affected by this virus?

As of 2/28/2020 when this blog post was written, COVID-9 has sickened more than 83,800 people, according to official counts. At least 2,866 people have died, all but 78 in mainland China. The disease has been detected in at least 56 countries, most involving people who traveled from China, where the outbreak originated. The New York Times has an up-to-date, interactive map you can use to get this information.

Is COVID-19 more contagious than the flu?

Although the research for COVID-19 has just begun, scientists estimate that each person with this virus could infect between 1.5 and 3.5 people if containment measures are not in place. This respiratory virus travels through the air, when a sick person, breaths, talks, coughs or sneezes. The virus spreads through the expelled droplets that fall to the ground. Coronavirus can only travel about 6-feet, we don’t know how long the virus can live on surfaces.

Seasonal flu is a less contagious virus. On average, people infected with the flu tend to infect 1.3 other people. When compared to COVID-9, the difference in rate of spreading the virus may seem small but, the animation provided in the following link illustrates a striking contrast in how contagious the seasonal flu is compared to this coronavirus.

Have more people died from COVID-19 compared to other viruses?

Early indications suggest the fatality rate for this virus is considerably less than another coronavirus, MERS, which kills about 35 percent of people who become infected, and SARS, which kills about 10 percent. All of the diseases appear to latch on to proteins on the surface of lung cells, but MERS and SARS seem to be more destructive to lung tissue.

“Among 17,000 people who were infected with COVID-19 in China, 82 percent had mild infections, 15 percent had severe symptoms and 3 percent were classified as critical”, said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of emerging diseases at the World Health Organization, on Feb. 7. “Less than 2 percent of the people with confirmed infections had died. Many of those who died were older men with underlying health problems”, Dr. Van Kerkhove said.

Recently celebrities on social media have posted pictures of themselves wearing masks as they travel, how effective are masks for protection?

“The mask itself can become contaminated and serve as a source of infection, actually doing more harm than good,” states Dr. Jonathan Grein, Medical Director of Cedars-Sinai Hospital Epidemiology. “If wearing a mask, I caution touching it.” The CDC also doesn’t recommend to the general public using facemasks as a method of protection from coronavirus or other respiratory illnesses. “You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it,” the CDC said. “A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.”

What can I do to prepare for COVID-19?

The CDC has been clear in their message to Americans. Be prepared for a possible outbreak in your community. What does being prepared look like? Preparing for an outbreak is similar to preparing for any other natural disaster, such as a hurricane. The following are easy precautions each one of us can take to lessen our chances of catching this virus:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Staying home when you are sick;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of your elbow;
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces; and
  • Getting a flu shot if you have not already done so.

NPR recently shared a detailed preparedness plan for your home.

 How long before a vaccine will be available for COVID-19?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases hopes to have a Phase 1 trial starting within the next three months, barring any unforeseen obstacles. However, Dr. Fauci warns that after initial trials it still takes time to for testing to make sure a vaccine is safe and effective. In a best-case scenario, Dr. Fauci predicts a vaccine is at least 1 year away from becoming available to the public.

What are some NLM resources I can access for COVID-19?

The following picture is of NLM’s homepage that shows you more health and medical information about COVID-19, take a look

Categories: RML Blogs

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week

Tue, 2020-02-25 10:38

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week runs from February 24-28, 2020.  Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week is an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing.  Programs during the week highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain the doctrines themselves.  The ACRL website has many resources, publications, and events to help you prepare for and participate in  Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, additional information can be found on the ACRL Insider website.

The National Network of the Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) fully supports Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week and has many resources that can be part of the programs and resources on offer this week which are accessible year-round.  The U.S. National Library of Medicine Digital Collection contains many digitized rare books, manuscripts, films, and images all searchable in pull down menu.  The NLM History of Medicine collection has access to over 70,000 images on relevant topics from the 15th to 21st century. Many of the items are in the public domain.  The NLM provides information about copyright of the materials in its catalog and/or metadata records.  For additional information, please go to historical collections copyright information or review the Patron Guide to Copyright.  If using any material from the historical collections for publication or production, remember to verify the item is available for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.  This legal doctrine promotes freedom of expression, innovation, creativity and scholarship.  Join us in celebrate Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week.

Categories: RML Blogs

Getting the Most from NNLM: Public Health Part 2

Fri, 2020-02-14 10:52

Back in November, I wrote about databases, resources and services from NLM and NNLM that are useful for our public health partners beyond MedlinePlus and PubMed.  In that post, I covered the databases that had a broad appeal to a public health audience or that had public health information for a general audience including resources with information on HIV/AIDS, disaster preparedness, response and recovery, environmental health and more.

Public health can be siloed and territorial due to limited funding and other resources, but it’s important to know what research and programs already exist, so that programs and projects continue to advance community health and build on best practices. NLM has databases that can help public health professionals, and social and behavioral health researchers find information that hasn’t been commercially published, including about ongoing and completed research and projects.

National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR ONESearch) allows public health professionals, researchers and the interested public the ability to search multiple databases for information on archived, completed and ongoing social and behavioral intervention research. Results can be filtered by Project Status, Performing Organization, Funding Organization, Initial and Final Year, State and more. NICHSR ONESearch also has datasets and methodologies. allows patients and families, researchers, and study managers to search for ongoing clinical trials and filter results by recruitment status, age or age group, sex, study type, results, funder type and more.

Disaster Lit is a resource within the NLM’s wider emergency preparedness, response and recovery database, Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), and gives researchers, professionals and the public access to gray literature including conference proceedings, white papers and policy papers, videos, clinical guidance and more.  Disaster Lit includes pre-done searches on select topics and the ability to build searches to find the emergency preparedness, response and recovery information most relevant to your planning and response situation.

Doing research and building searches that produce relevant results are skills that need to be learned and practiced.  Getting the most from PubMed and other databases can be learned.  Use the PubMed Search Builder Tutorial to learn more. You can also learn to build searches in Disaster Lit with the How to Search Tutorial.

Reminder that NNLM also has classes for public health professionals. You can search the full NNLM class catalog or find NNLM webinars that are CHES eligible.

Upcoming CHES eligible classes:

February 26, 2020 from 2-3pm (ET)-From Problem to Prevention: Evidence-Based Public Health

March 5, 2020 from 2-3pm (ET)-Health Statistics on the Web

You can also filter classes using the keywords “public health” to find classes that have been designated useful for a public health audience.

Categories: RML Blogs

Improving Access to Health Education at Springfield Technical Community College

Fri, 2020-02-07 09:44

Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons (Building 19), Springfield Technical Community College, December 2018.

In 2018-2019, NER supported Springfield Technical Community College Library’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiative. Chelsea Contrada, Outreach and OER Librarian, was the lead for this project. Springfield Technical Community College is located in the ethnically and racially diverse city of Springfield, Massachusetts. This blog post is an excerpt from the final report submitted to NER in May 2019.

For the Improving Access to Health Education: Reducing Textbook Costs with Open Educational Resources project, qualified faculty members were awarded a stipend to convert their current course curriculum materials (textbooks, assignments, quizzes, etc.) to freely available OER or library materials. By redesigning health sciences courses and prerequisites around free resources that are openly licensed and/or available through the STCC Library and the National Library of Medicine, more students will be able to afford to complete these degrees.

The primary goal of this project was to increase the use of OER in the health degrees, particularly in the new health science associate’s degree. The final report includes more specific objectives. NER funds were used to develop an OER faculty fellows program. Only courses in the health sciences or their prerequisites were eligible for a stipend. Faculty agreed to follow specific project guidelines. The amount of funds each faculty received was dependent on the details of their course redesign. Stipend amounts were tiered, based on similar OER models at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Massachusetts Community College Go Open Project.

Faculty applications were graded with a rubric and recipients were chosen by the OER committee. Priority was given to courses with the greatest student impact. All faculty chosen were required to participate in an online training session that emphasized freely available online resources from the National Library of Medicine. The training was created by OER Librarian Chelsea Contrada, and hosted on the library’s website. Each recipient was required to have an initial meeting with Chelsea to discuss their plan for redesign and implementation. They were also required to meet with the STCC Office of Disability Services in order to ensure that all materials used are ADA compliant and follow Universal Design standards.

This program also came with unexpected positive outcomes. There were a number of faculty who were interested in the program but whose courses did not qualify under this particular grant. Fortunately, the Title III coordinator offered to use grant funds to match the stipends for any faculty with courses outside of the scope of the original program. These funds resulted in five additional course redevelopment projects, increasing student impact and overall savings.

The mission of Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) is to support students as they transform their lives. This project has made an impact on students by greatly reducing the costs of textbooks for courses that contribute to a degree in the health sciences. Demographically, the students in these programs do not match the students of the college as a whole. This project sought to promote diversity and remove barriers for underserved students and reduce educational costs by eliminating the cost of learning materials for specific courses. The project resulted in twelve (12) courses now running with zero materials costs, saving over four-hundred (400) students $77,639.86 on textbooks.

This project also helped to strengthen campus partnerships. As a result, the library has a stronger relationship with the School of Health and Patient Simulation, and a new partnership with Title III and HSI-STEM. Going forward, these partners will continue to support the STCC OER initiative and recognize the impact that OER can have on student success.

STCC Open Education Initiative

Categories: RML Blogs

The NER Collaborates with Rockdale Recovery High School, Powerful Interviews with a Family, Sharing Their Story of Substance Use Disorder

Fri, 2020-01-31 15:40


What’s a Recovery High School?

Recovery is hard. Even harder is maintaining sobriety as a teenager when you are expected to return to the same school and friends you had while you were addicted.

Recovery High Schools can help. These schools can be a safe haven for teens.  Recovering students can resume their high school education in a setting where they know they will not be offered drugs. “Sober schools”, as they are sometimes called, also provide additional mental health support such as  counseling, as well as access to peer recovery groups as part of the students’ school day.

Recovery high schools have been around since the late 1970s. Currently, over 40 recovery high schools exist across the United States. Based on a 2017 research study by Vanderbilt University professor Andy Fitch and others, students enrolled in recovery schools are significantly more successful staying away from drugs than those not enrolled in these schools. More recovery schools are likely to open as our nation addresses the current opioid addiction health crisis with a variety of solutions. “There has been a gap in adolescent treatment for many, many years”, says Fitch who is also co-founder of the Association of Recovery Schools. “The schools are one of the programs that fill in that gap.” New sober schools are planned in New York, Delaware and Oregon. Eighty-five per cent of the recovery schools are public or operate with some source of public funding. Opening a recovery school can be complicated because the schools must recruit their students, create and implement policies specific to the needs of their students and they must fund the additional services recovering students need.

NER Works with Rockdale Recovery High School

As an NER Education and Outreach Coordinator I am grateful for a recent opportunity to work with the Rockdale Recovery  High School in Worcester, MA. Rockdale principal Mary Ellen McGorry and clinician Alyssa Richard participated in a unique webinar made possible through grants from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Community Access to Child Health Grant, and the American 

Psychiatric Association Helping Hands Grant obtained by UMass pediatrician Dr. Magret Chang. These grants enabled Dr. Chang to oversee the creation of series of candid and powerful, videotaped interviews with a recovery high school student named Sam, Sam’s father and her grandmother. The interviews will help Dr. Chang’s medical students understand addiction a little better, as they provide a glimpse into a family deeply affected by substance use disorder. Videographer, Michael Laramee from Vivineer, LLC, worked with me, Dr. Chang, and the Rockdale team to craft the interviews he previously videotaped into an informative webinar that the NER presented in December, Substance Use Disorder: It’s a Family Disease. The family stories courageously shared by Sam and her family provide some unique insights into substance use disorder. You can access the webinar recording, presentation slides and comprehensive substance use disorder resource list at the following link:

Information about Recovery High Schools was obtained from TIME, “Inside the Specialized ‘Recovery’ High Schools Designed Just for Teens with Addiction”, by Anna Gorman/Kaiser Health News, January 23, 2019

Categories: RML Blogs

The Data Privacy Puzzle

Tue, 2020-01-28 10:26

On Friday January 17th,2020 NEASIS&T held it’s annual winter conference aptly titled, The Privacy Puzzle: Piecing Together Patron Privacy, Data Efficiency, and the Modern Web. The theme was privacy and protecting personal information.  The first keynoteCallan Bignoli, the Library Director at Olin College, was very thought provoking.  Her talk was titled  “Troublesome Tech Trends: Libraries in the Age of Surveillance“. The second Keynote speaker was Michael Leach, the Head of Collection Development at Cabot Science Library at Harvard University, was titled “Control: Giving People Authority Over Their Personal Data – A Library Perspective.”  Both talks and the following discussion highlighted the dilemma we face every day about the risks to giving up our right to control our personal information. There is the struggle of balancing our personal information versus the potential benefits from giving it up, knowing or unknowingly, to use a tool to make our lives better or easier.  The positive thing to remember is that for libraries and other stewards of information, privacy is not only a familiar conversation, but also a professional responsibility that requires us to be vigilant and proactive. It is important to be aware and to ask questions such as:

  • How can we balance protecting our privacy when it is inextricably linked to technology?
  • How should we handle vendor products that collect information when logging in? 
  • When negotiating licensing can we work together with vendors to protect our patrons? 
  • How do we appropriately use patron data to improve services?
  • How can we balance patron privacy with patron preferences for speed and convenience? 

Currently there is no solution to this enormous privacy puzzle, although there are some things that can be done to improve control of our personal information. Right now in the age of the sharing economy and data capitalists, it is up to us to prevent companies from unfairly profiling or profiting off of our personal information.  The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus has a tutorial for evaluating health information and a special section dedicated to privacy that may be of help. Being aware and making out patrons aware, there are issues involved in the harvesting of personal information for profit, is a big step towards protecting our patrons right to privacy.

Categories: RML Blogs

Getting the Most from NNLM: Evaluation Planning

Fri, 2020-01-17 08:57

Funding is open for the 2020-2021 year and part of the application process asks you to outline how you will evaluate your project.

Evaluation can be daunting and it’s often not as fun as the rest of the project, but it’s an important step to demonstrate project impact and value to your community, your organization and to funders, both current and future.

Use the 4 Steps to an Evaluation Plan from NEO to make evaluation planning easier.

Step 1: Community Assessment helps you gauge the information and programming needs of your community.  You can survey your community yourself or find community health assessments or plans from other sources to help you support the priorities of your project.

  • County Health Rankings: Provide a snapshot of how where people live, learn, work and play influences health. They provide a starting point for change in communities.
  • Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA): CHNA is required for all tax-exempt hospitals and must take input from “persons who represent the broad interests of the community served by the hospital facility, including those with special knowledge of or expertise in public health.”
  • You can find local health data and health improvement plans by searching your location + community health data. For example, here’s the Building a Healthy Community information for Worcester, MA.
  • Healthy People 2020: Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Healthy People also gives you access to health data for HP2020 objectives, including on the national and state levels and on health disparities.

Step 2: Make a Logic Model-Logic models help you plan and clarify visually how your activities and outcomes are linked to make your project successful.

Step 3: Develop Measurable Objectives for Your Outcomes-Learn the difference between Goals (specific results from the project) and Objectives (specific steps that lead to the success of the project goals).

Step 4: Create an Evaluation Plan-Write plans that will evaluate the process you outlined in your logic model in Step 2 and your outcomes from Step 3.

For more information on program evaluation, download Evaluation guides for Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects from NEO.

And access NNLM’s On Demand EvalBasics classes to learn more.

Categories: RML Blogs

Yale University Librarians on Serving Nursing and Allied Health Care Professionals

Wed, 2020-01-08 12:46

On Tue, Dec 10, 2019, NNLM NER hosted two Yale University librarians in a webinar addressing the health information needs of nursing and allied health care professionals. The webinar was part of our NER Hospital Librarians series.

This educational series provides professional development opportunities for hospital librarians in the New England Region. Topics are determined by our Hospital Libraries Advisory Group. Previous webinars include: Advanced MeSH; Business of Healthcare; DOCLINE Update; Dietary Supplement Label Database; Librarians Supporting Nursing Education and Scholarship; LinkOut for Libraries and What is RA21. Webinars are scheduled for one hour and are recorded for future viewing.

Each webinar highlights a topic of concern to hospital librarians. In December, the focus was on answering nursing and allied health care questions using National Library of Medicine resources. Hospital librarians in New England are reporting steady, or increasing, requests for assistance from nurses and allied health care professionals. For this webinar, we contacted Janene Batten, well-known in the New England Region for her work with nurses, and her colleague Alexandria Brackett. As a clinical librarian, Alexandria brings valuable insights for our target audience.

The webinar began with introduction of a case study. Janene and Alexandria demonstrated the use of National Library of Medicine resources with time-saving search strategies. Cognizant of the upcoming “new” PubMed, both librarians incorporated relevant screenshots and searching tips for managing the transition away from Legacy PubMed. The webinar covered using MedlinePlus and the LactMed database as well.

Webinar attendees gave high marks to Janene Batten and Alexandria Brackett:

Instructors were both well prepared and switched sections with each other smoothly.

I appreciated the opportunities throughout the session to ask questions.

Very well prepared instructors; flow of presentation extremely easy to follow!

The instructors were thorough, but didn’t waste time. A good balance.

Both were knowledgeable, excellent speakers. The topic and examples flowed well. 

Good job. I’m glad I attended.

Liked the scenario idea and how to use the resources to find relevant info.

Recording Available on YouTube

If you did not attend the live webinar, or if you want to review search strategies, the recording is available on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine YouTube channel. Or, play below!



Categories: RML Blogs

Health Education And Literacy – The HEAL Project

Fri, 2020-01-03 15:47

This week’s blog post was written by Dr. Traci Alberti, the Co-PI of an NER Year 4 Grant Funded Project – “Health Literacy and Health Information Resource Education in the Lawrence, Massachusetts Community.”

Limitations in health literacy are associated with ineffective care, poor compliance, increased use of health services, worse health status and even death. Nearly 77 million Americans experience limited health literacy, with greater proportions among Latino populations.

Utilizing NNLM funds, Co-investigators Dr. Traci Alberti, Nurse Practitioner and Assistant Professor, and Catherine Wong, Health Science Librarian, both from Merrimack College, have partnered with the Merrimack Valley Area Health Education Center (MV-AHEC) and the Notre Dame Education Center-Lawrence (NDEC-L) to provide health literacy and health information resource education for English as Second Language Adult Learners in the Lawrence, Massachusetts community.

The Notre Dame Education Center- Lawrence provides free educational opportunities for community members that include English as second language classes and work skills classes.  Adult community students taking English classes at NDEC-L participated in Health Education And Literacy (HEAL) classes and a MedlinePlus consumer health information workshop during the fall, 2019 semester. HEAL is an established national health literacy program developed by Literacy for Life, which is based out of the School of Education at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. The 8 week curriculum is designed for English as second language learners and covers education around basic health and nutrition knowledge, emergency recognition, pharmacy and medication safety and access to healthcare. A MedlinePlus consumer health information workshop was also taught by Ms. Wong, a Health Science Librarian.  The health information workshop taught the adult learners how to access MedlinePlus from their mobile phones, utilize language options, sign-up for email notifications and how to use this resource to access information on health and wellness topics of their choosing.

 Based on post-program survey data, HEAL participants significantly improved their knowledge on health information, nutrition, healthcare access, and confidence in speaking with healthcare providers. Participants also reported learning new health information resources and skills with plans to utilize these resources in the future.

The program will run again during the spring, 2020 semester.  Plans for program expansion and sustainability within the community partners is currently underway.

Categories: RML Blogs

A New Year’s Resolution

Thu, 2019-12-26 12:29

Another year is coming upon us and so is another year of New Year’s resolutions. What will it be this year? A popular resolution is to exercise. So this begs the question how much exercise?  The answer can be found in MedlinePlus. Most adults should work out between 2 to 5 hours a week. At minimum, most adults need at least 150 minutes or about two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of high intensity physical activity per week. A rule of thumb moderate exercise means you can speak in sentences but probably cannot sing, whereas vigorous intensity you won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath. In addition, to maintain muscle and bone strength, adults should engage in strengthening activities twice a week, such as pushups, sit-ups, lifting weights or exercise bands. The strengthening exercises should be repeated 8-12 times per session.

Kids need their exercise too.  For preschool age children between the ages of 3 and 5, should be physically active throughout the day and should get a mix of structured play, such as a sport or a game, and unstructured play, such as at a playground. Children and teens, should strive for 60 minutes of physical activity every day.  This activity can take many forms such as walking, running, biking, hiking, skiing, swimming, playing basketball, dancing.  

If you are like me you may be asking where am I going to find the time for two and a half hours of exercise or laughing it off as what a luxury. But there is hope. Start slowly, and combine exercise with daily activities, such as walking to the store by parking farther away from the entrance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, maybe dance as you are mopping. My favorite is combining family time on weekends with hiking/ walking the dog.. The family is together, exercising but really it is a scavenger hunt to find whatever leaf, flower, or animal we can find. Sometimes we even combine our hikes with a citizen science project, some great ideas are available at: or The dog, kids and I try to identify tracks and other signs of birds or animals and then use a cell phone to take a picture an upload the data. We get some exercise both moderate and vigorous, and we come away with pictures, memories, and a healthier heart. 

Categories: RML Blogs

NNLM NER Funding Applications Now Open

Wed, 2019-12-18 09:30

hand holding coinsThe NNLM NER is happy to announce that Request for Proposals (RFPs) for funding in the upcoming year (2020-2021) have been posted and we are accepting applications. Awarded projects will start May 1, 2020 and run through April 30, 2021.

Please review the information found on our Funding Opportunities page ( You will find the specific RFPs under each award type. Applications will be due March 20th, 2020. We have a new online application system. Please review the directions for submitting an application carefully.

We will be hosting webinar on January 14th at 1pm to go over funding and the application process. If you would like the information but cannot attend, please register anyway. A recoding will be sent to all registrants.

Please just let us know if you have any concerns about the award categories, your application, the submission process, or the deadline. We are also happy to review any drafts or answer questions at anytime about anything related to your project or applications.

Thank you, and we look forward to your projects!

Categories: RML Blogs

Graphic Medicine for Kids and Teens

Mon, 2019-12-16 10:47

Collage of book covers for Sunny Side Up, Hyperbole and a Half, Ghosts, The Truth About Stacey and Hey Kiddo.

Graphic Medicine is comic books and graphic novels that cover topics of health and wellness.  The visual format makes the information easier to understand and digest.  By reading a personal, non-fiction story, we can learn about issues we may not have experienced ourselves.  These stories can also help us feel less alone in our own lives.

People who aren’t familiar with graphic medicine often assume that it’s mainly a tool for health communication with kids and teens.  When mainstream audiences think about comics and graphic novels, they picture the comics they read as kids (superheroes, romance, teen drama), and may not be aware of the large variety of fiction and non-fiction works written for adults. In fact, a lot of graphic medicine works are primarily focused on communicating with adults with language and illustrations not designed for young audiences.  This isn’t as simple as “adult content”, but also references that may go over younger readers heads or don’t resonate with them.

Here are a few examples of graphic medicine works that were written specifically with kids and young adults in mind.

For Kids:

  • Many of the books by Raina Telgemeier have health and wellness themes including Smile, Sisters, and Guts, autobiographical works dealing with dental issues, sibling rivalry, and “tummy troubles” caused by anxiety. Ghosts and The Truth About Stacey, fiction by Telgemeier, deal with cystic fibrosis, sibling relationships and diabetes.
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell uses animal characters to illustrate the author’s childhood experiences being deaf and having to use the Phonic Ear (a bulky hearing aid).
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm and its sequels follow Sunny as she deals with changing family relationships, sibling substance use and growing up.

For Teens:

These are just a few examples of graphic novels with health themes written for young people, but many graphic novels for kids and young adults deal with growing up, interpersonal relationships and other mental and physical health issues.  Your local library probably has titles already in their children and teen collection that they may not have thought of as graphic medicine or for communicate health issues with kids.

Learn more about Graphic Medicine, including lesson plans for grades 7-10, by visiting the NLM’s website for the traveling exhibit Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived, Well-Drawn.  Or request a Graphic Medicine Book Club Kit for your library, school or community group to try.

Categories: RML Blogs