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NNLM Reading Club: Digital Health Literacy

Share Digital Health Literacy

Libraries can play a crucial role in helping their patrons access quality online health information by: 

  • Providing access to computers and high-speed internet
  • Helping users develop the digital literacy skills needed to use the computer (e.g., how to use a mouse)
  • Helping users develop the necessary skills to evaluate online health information resources


Download, print, and share facts.

Precision Medicine

If there is one overarching trend to all the advances in medical technology, it is the personalization of medicine and treating individuals as such. Source: The Ten Hottest Medical Technologies in 2019


  • The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) Health Literacy Online is a research-based guide for simplifying the User Experience when it comes to creating intuitive health websites.
  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a best-practice website,, to learn how to create a user-centered product.

Technology Is Changing Medicine.... and Library Service

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced libraries temporarily to close, the virus also created an opportunity for libraries to demonstrate their increasingly important role as partners for healthy communities.


Laptop screen displaying the words Health Literacy

From accessing your personal Electronic Health Record (EHR) to using TeleHealth for a routine medical visit, digital health literacy is increasingly integrated into our everyday lives. Visit NNLM All of Us Digital Health Literacy and NNLM All of Us Learn Internet Skills to discover resources, including digital health literacy training curricula and courses, to help individuals in your community become more skilled and knowledgeable technology users.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that more than 21 million Americans lack broadband access, and Pew Research reports that 77 percent of Americans without Internet access depend on libraries. So it was fortunate that when libraries closed due to the pandemic, they did not stop providing this essential service. Libraries extended remote access coverage outside the building. While sitting in a parked vehicle or on a park bench, communities continued to access free WiFi to complete homework or upload job applications.

Woman holding a Fitbit box

Wearable Devices

If you thought libraries only loaned books and DVDs, think again. Library of Things often includes health technology such as Fitbits. Learn how libraries are incorporating wearable devices into their health outreach programs: Summit Fitbit Cohorts, Capital Area District Libraries, and Huron Public Library.

"From Fitbits to Apple Watches, patients are generating a significant amount of data on wearables, and the use of wearables is anticipated to increase nearly 25 percent by 2026..." Source: Medical Technologies in 2020: The Top Innovations for Clinicians. By Debra Wood, RN, contributor. StaffCare. Dec 19, 2019


3D Printing

CreativeMaker Spaces in public libraries were enlisted for the emergency manufacture of face shields that were in short supply during the COVID-19 outbreak. Using 3D to Make PPE: Library resources help create much-needed face shields by Cass Balzer. American Libraries. April 3, 2020. The Columbia University Libraries even created an online resource, ​Guide and Design for Rapidly Produced Face Shields.