According to a 2015 Pew Research Study, 73% of people who visit public libraries in America go looking for answers about their health. Furthermore, a recent study by the Institute of Museum and Library Services showed that over a 12-month period, an estimated 28 million people in the United States used library computers or sought assistance from librarians for health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, finding 126s, and assessing health insurance options. Public library websites can provide their communities with curated, credible digital resources about health and wellness. However, many small Oklahoma public libraries lack a library website. Oklahoma Department of Libraries ODL will develop a basic public library website for a pilot group of small Oklahoma libraries that do not have a library website. The websites will include webpages of credible health resources so that community members can access information about their health, from either at the library or through any internet-enabled device. Because these small libraries have very limited staff and are often unable to travel to ODL for training, and because the library staff in these small communities often lack the technical knowledge to maintain a website, ODL library consultants will travel to the pilot sites to train library staff in website maintenance and health literacy, focusing on the health resources we will develop for their website. Local community health partners and library patrons will be invited to a follow-up training to learn how to use the health resources on the new website. Promotional materials will be developed to publicize the libraries' health literacy resources. As part of this initiative, each pilot site with be provided necessary technology for public access. REMARKS: Outcome: Library staff will feel more confident in researching health issues. Indicators: A questionnaire will determine if library staff is more confident in researching health issues for library patrons. Qualitative data to understand how librarians feel about this project will be collected and reported. Objective: 75% of library staff will feel more confident in researching health issues for library patrons. Outcome: Library staff will learn web maintenance skills to maintain their new websites with current health resource links. Indicators: In an inquiry to other State Library Agencies in the US, it was determined that one of the biggest problems SLAs had helping their local libraries with websites was getting the libraries to update the websites on a regular basis. ODL will conduct monthly follow up calls to the libraries during the grant reporting period to provide assistance and encouragement with website maintenance and use of the health resources. A follow up call report sheet will be created to document calls and responses. Staff will also install a link-checker plugin on the websites so that library staff will be alerted by e-mail when a link is broken so that they can fix it. ODL will periodically send new resources that the libraries can add to their websites. A project support group will be created and encouraged, so that participating libraries can contact each other with questions and share best practices. Objective: 80% of pilot libraries will update their new library websites monthly, to make sure links to health resources are working and to add updates. Outcome: Health resources training participants will learn how to use the NLM resources to help patrons find answers to their questions about health. Indicator: Quizzes will be administered at the end of the health resources training sessions to determine success in being able to look up health information using the NLM resources on the libraries' websites.
Oklahoma Department of Libraries