Public Libraries

Public Libraries


Getting Started

Membership for your Library

NNLM provides resources to help enrich your programs. Join our free membership network to take advantage of all that we have to offer. Membership is institutional, not individual.

Members are eligible to take advantage of services that include:

  • Your organization will be listed in the NNLM Membership Directory
  • Free webinars and presentations
  • Online training on NLM Resources with classes customized to meet the needs of your organization
  • Professional development
  • Online training and webinars for your K-12 community
  • Exhibiting at conferences and health fairs on free health information
  • Free informational materials for order and download on National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources
  • Funding opportunities for consumer health outreach and for traveling exhibits
  • Grant and proposal writing information

Virtual Health Programming for your Library

In an effort to support libraries who want to remain engaged with their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic NNLM staff members and members have offered a number of webinars on virtual programming and the recordings are available on our YouTube channel. Some recordings that may be of interest include:

You can see more upcoming webinars, self-paced courses, and asynchronous online classes on our training page.

NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network is offering virtual health programming designed for public library audiences. We hope that this will be a great resource for libraries who are interested in offering virtual health programming but might not have the capacity to do so. Events are regularly updated on this page and can be promoted alongside your library’s other programs. Check here for upcoming and past events include author interviews, citizen science learning events, and more.

Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) Sponsorship

The Medical Library Association Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) offers training in providing health information services to consumers and recognition for the accomplishment of acquiring new health information skills.

CHIS courses are offered by the NNLM at no cost. It is easy to meet the requirements for both levels with NNLM courses. There is a cost for earning your CHIS, but NNLM RMLs sometimes sponsor that cost. Visit to learn more about available funding opportunities.

 

Health Information

Guides to Finding Good Health Information Online

Health Information Resources

MedlinePlus
MedlinePlus is an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends. MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Drug Information

MedlinePlus: Drugs and Supplements
Health Topic Page Drugs & Supplements includes information about prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more. Browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is part of the National Institutes of Health, is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine.

Drug Information Portal
The NLM Drug Information Portal gives users a gateway to selected drug information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and other key U.S. Government agencies.

CDC
Overdose information from the Centers for Disease Control.

FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's webpage for consumers contains information about how to stay safe and healthy. The FDA webpage for patients has information on treatments, drugs, and medical devices, including approvals and recalls.

Get Smart about Drugs
Get Smart About Drugs is a DEA resources for parents, educators, & caregivers for identifying recreational and illegal drugs.

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed)
The LactMed database contains information on drugs and other chemicals to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed.

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) fact sheets give a current overview of individual vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements.

Research

National Library of Medicine
The National Library of Medicine (NLM), on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has been a center of information innovation since its founding in 1836. The world’s largest biomedical library, NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology.

PubMed
PubMed is a free resource supporting the search and retrieval of biomedical and life sciences literature with the aim of improving health–both globally and personally. The PubMed database contains more than 30 million citations and abstracts of biomedical literature. It does not include full-text journal articles; however, links to the full text are often present when available from other sources, such as the publisher's website or PubMed Central (PMC).

ClinicalTrials.gov
ClinicalTrials.gov is a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. ClinicalTrials.gov is a resource provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Open-i: Open Access Biomedical Image Search Engine
Open-i is a service of the National Library of Medicine enables search and retrieval of abstracts and images (including charts, graphs, clinical images, etc.) from the open source literature, and biomedical image collections. Searching may be done using text queries as well as query images. Open-i provides access to over 3.7 million images from about 1.2 million PubMed Central® articles; 7,470 chest x-rays with 3,955 radiology reports; 67,517 images from NLM History of Medicine collection; and 2,064 orthopedic illustrations.

For questions, please contact:

Michael Balkenhol
mab602@pitt.edu

Chris Pryor
pryorc@missouri.edu

Last update: October 2020

Multicultural and Multilingual

Spanish Language Resources

MedlinePlus en español
MedlinePlus en español is the Spanish-language version of MedlinePlus for consumer health information.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Spanish Health Information Portal
NIH provides health information from across its many institutes and offices in one place. In addition, the Ask Carla (Pregunta a Carla) feature invites users to ask questions and to add comments about finding health information. You can also visit the websites of individual NIH institutes, offices, and centers to find health information that might be offered in additional languages.

HIVinfo
HIVinfo's Spanish-language page has information on clinical trials, drug database and general consumer health information in Spanish on AIDS.

Cancer.gov en español
From the National Cancer Institute, a division of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Locate information on cancer for both health professionals, patients, and consumers in Spanish.

MiBuscadorDeSalud
MiBuscadorDeSalud is maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services together with other federal agencies, and coordinated by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and supported by the National Health Information Center.

USA.gov en español
USA.gov en español features extensive links to health, nutrition and safety websites from the federal government, many PDF documents in Spanish.

CDC en español
CDC en español from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Excellent coverage of public health topics such as vaccinations, flus and colds, pre-natal care, diabetes, obesity, etc.

World Health Organization - Organizacion Mundial de la Salud
World Health Organization offers Health topics pages provide links to descriptions of activities, reports, news and events, as well as contacts and cooperating partners in the various WHO programs and offices, along with links to related web sites and topics.

Office of Minority Health en español
Office of Minority Health operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information on funding, data/statistics, cultural competency, health topics and minority populations and is available in Spanish.

KidsHealth.org & TeensHealth.org
KidsHealth.org & TeensHealth.org from Nemours offers different pages for Parents, Kids, and Teens on health information topics relevant to each group.

American Diabetes Association en español
American Diabetes Association information on diabetes in Spanish.

PewResearch: Hispanic Trends Project
Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project seeks to improve public understanding of the diverse Hispanic population in the United States and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation.

Health Resources in Multiple Languages

MedlinePlus: Health Information in Multiple Languages
The Health Information in Multiple Languages page on MedlinePlus includes consumer health information resources, such as printable patient education handouts, in over 60 languages. You can browse these resources by either health topic or language.

Health Information Translations
Health Information Translations provides easy-to-read, culturally appropriate health information resources in over 20 languages.

Office of Refugee Resettlement
The Office of Refugee Resettlement provides health information relevant to refugee populations, including material on health promotion, insurance, emotional wellness, and services for survivors of torture.

EthnoMed
EthnoMed contains information to help you provide culturally relevant health information and programming for a wide range of audiences. It covers topics such as immigration, specific cultural values and norms to be aware of, and information on common experiences that might affect attitudes toward Western medicine.

iSpeak Cards
iSpeak cards, developed by the Washington State Coalition for Language Access, are tools to assist people in requesting the service of an interpreter. You can print these cards, which are available in over 30 languages, and make them available for community members to more easily receive interpretation services in health care settings.

MedlinePlus Health Topics by Population

Training and Webinars

For questions, please contact:

Michael Balkenhol
mab602@pitt.edu

Chris Pryor
pryorc@missouri.edu

Last update: October 2020

Substance Misuse

Substance Misuse Resources

MedlinePlus: Opioid Misuse and Addiction
MedlinePlus topic page on Opioid Misuse and Addiction.

MedlinePlus: Drug Use and Substance Abuse
MedlinePlus topic page on Drug Use and Substance Misuse.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): drugabuse.gov
NIDA is the lead federal agency supporting scientific research on drug use and its consequences. Learn the facts about the most commonly used drugs. Each drug page includes a brief overview, street and clinical names, the effects of the drug on the brain and body, statistics and trends, and relevant publications and articles written by NIDA researchers and scientists.

NIH Heal Initiative
The Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Almost every NIH Institute and Center is accelerating research to address this public health emergency from all angles. The initiative is funding hundreds of projects nationwide.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advances research on drinking and alcohol's impact on health.

Drug Info and Prescription Disposal

Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know
Resource from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on how to dispose of unused or expired drugs.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
In April and October every year, the U.S. Department of Justice reminds us to dispose properly of all unused prescriptions on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

To locate a drop-off site, Google Maps has an enhanced feature to help you. Here's how to use it:

  1. On a computer, phone, or another device, visit google.com/maps.
  2. Type "drug disposal near me" in the search bar.

The tool will show nearby government, health care facility, and pharmacy drop-off locations. To learn more, visit New Maps Feature Makes Drug Disposal Easier and Safer.

Webinars and Staff Development

For questions, please contact:

Michael Balkenhol
mab602@pitt.edu

Chris Pryor
pryorc@missouri.edu

Last update: October 2020

Mental Health

Mental Health Resources

MedlinePlus: Mental Health
MedlinePlus Mental Health topic page Includes many mental health resources, as well as drug information, directories of providers/facilities, a medical dictionary, medical encyclopedia and more.

MentalHealth.gov
MentalHealth.gov from the Department of Health & Human Services provides one-stop access to U.S. government mental health and mental health problems information.

National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health is the leading federal agency for research on mental disorders.  A source for general information, shareable graphics for social media, and current research news

CDC Mental Health Tools and Resources
The Centers for Disease Control consumer-friendly site for learning about and participating in mental health.

Library Services for People with Mental Illnesses
ALA Guidelines for and tips for serving people with mental illnesses.

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI empowers consumers to take action, find social support for their illness and fight stigma. NAMI is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses. Resources include statistics, educational materials, and local chapters.

Crisis Helplines

SAMHSA's National Helpline
1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA's National Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, and recovery in English and Spanish.

Disaster Distress Helpline
1-800-985-5990
Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.​

NAMI HelpLine: National Alliance on Mental Illness
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org
NAMI HelpLine and lists additional crisis support information on their website.

Crisis Text Line
Text “HOME” to 741741
Crisis Text Line is available for any crisis, connect by text to a trained crisis counselor who can respond in real time from a secure online platform.

Veterans Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255
Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans in crisis with qualified and caring Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responders. Uses private, free hotline, chat, or text.  Also for families and friends of veterans.

YouthLine
1-877-968-8491
Text “teen2teen” to 839863
YouthLine is a free, confidential teen-to-teen crisis and help line. Available from 4-10 Pacific Time (adults available by phone at all other times).

Finding Providers and Treatment

The crisis lines listed above are also a great resource for finding treatment and mental health professionals. Below are additional directories for finding treatment.

Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is a directory of alcohol, drug, or mental health treatment facilities and programs around the country.

American Psychological Association: Psychologist Locator
APA: Psychologist Locator is a searchable directory to help you find a psychologist near you.

MedlinePlus Mental Health Topics

NNLM Trainings on Mental Health

Health Programming

Health Programming Resources

NNLM Reading Club
The NNLM Reading Club is a selection of “ready-to-use” book titles along with free and downloadable materials designed to help libraries support the health information needs in their communities. Through the fun and intimacy of a book club, readers will discuss health and wellness topics important to them and their loved ones as well as discover NIH National Library of Medicine evidence-based consumer health resources.

Engage for Health
Engage for Health [Fix Link]is a program available for libraries, community and faith based agencies, and health care providers to offer in their communities on patient empowerment and communication.

Let’s Move in Libraries
Let’s Move in Libraries is a great place for library professionals to be inspired by, learn about and share excellent program ideas to get their communities moving.

Programming Librarian: Health and Wellness
Programming Librarian is a searchable database of library program ideas from the American Library Association Public Programs Office.

Public Library Association
Public Library Association Health Resources has the tools, program ideas and primers you need to stay up-to- date on health literacy topics from PLA.

WebJunction: Health Happens in Libraries
WebJunction: Health Happens at Libraries is a program that magnifies the role of public libraries as key contributors to community health. Visit for health information news, resources, and webinars for public libraries.

Sensory Storytime

Program Evaluation

NNLM National Evaluation Center
All NNLM-funded projects have evaluation requirements. The NNLM National Evaluation Center has a list of evaluation methods and information about reporting tools. Writing a proposal? Follow these 5 Steps to an Evaluation Plan.

Public Library Association Logo
Project Outcome
Project Outcome from the Public Library Association is a FREE online toolkit designed to help public libraries understand and share the impact of essential library programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes.

Templates for Building Partnerships

Health outreach within the community is best done in partnership with other organizations. Below please find sample letters of invitation to participate, invitation to speak, and of thanks. These letters can be printed and mailed or modified to send via email.

Trainings and Webinars on Health Programming

Recorded Webinars

Summer Reading

Summer Reading & Health Programming

The Network of the National Library of Medicine has partnered with the Collaborative Summer Library Program to bring health programming to your library for Summer Reading!

Summer Reading 2021 - Tails & Tales

Tails and Tales image

Check out the following health programs that compliment the summer reading theme for 2021! Written by NNLM staff.

Summer Reading 2020 - Imagine Your Story!

Check out the following health programs that compliment the summer reading theme for 2020!

Summer Reading 2019 - A Universe of Stories

Take a look back at last summer's health programs. Explore DNA and family history, make stardust, discover astronaut food, and more with our science programs for kids, teens, and adults in the NNLM Summer Health Programming Manual.

Summer Reading image

Exploring Genetics with Kids and Teens Kit

NNLM MAR piloted a program-in-a-box kit for 300 members to assist with Summer Library Programming. Below are lesson plans associated with the kit!

Recorded Webinars

For questions, please contact:

Michael Balkenhol
mab602@pitt.edu

Last update: October 2020

Collections & Graphic Medicine

Graphic Medicine

“Graphic Medicine is the intersection of the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare.”
-Ian Williams, MD and cartoonist

National Library of Medicine Exhibition Program
The Exhibition Program strives to promote greater understanding and awareness of how the past informs the present and can shape the future. The online exhibition features a range of resources for educators and students, including lesson plans developed by classroom teachers for middle and high school courses, a higher education module developed by a scholar working in the discipline for undergraduate and graduate students and instructors, educational online activities, and additional resources.

Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn!
The NLM Exhibition Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn! explores an increasingly popular, yet little-known literary field that presents personal illness narratives and health information through the medium of comics. The exhibition showcases items from the NLM’s growing collection of graphic memoirs depicting people’s experiences with an array of health issues, including breast cancer, deafness, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and more. Online educational resources include lessons plans on graphic medicine for grades 7-10 and college students.

NLM Traveling Exhibitions
Apply for an NLM Traveling Exhibition Each year, hundreds of libraries and cultural institutions across the U.S. and around the world host NLM traveling exhibitions. These roll–up displays present inspiring stories about history, society, and medicine drawn from the world–renowned collections of the NLM and help connect visitors to the NLM's trusted health information resources. They are available to host free of charge.

Graphic Medicine Collections Resources

NNLM Graphic Medicine Book Title List
A list of graphic medicine book titles organized by topic by NNLM.

graphicmedicine.org
A hub for graphic medicine news, reviews, an associated podcast, and an annual conference.

medicinagrafica.com
Spanish language sister site to graphicmedicine.org

NNLM Reading Club
Free book club kits including discussion and programming guides centered around various aspects of health information. Graphic medicine titles are included.

Annals Graphic Medicine
Annals of Internal Medicine-affiliated site which collects comics and graphics made by those who give and receive healthcare, aiming to address medically-relevant topics.

AMA Journal of Ethics Course
“Representations of Patients' Experiences of Autonomy in Graphic Medicine” is a 1-credit CME module created by the American Medical Association’s EdHub. Create an account to login and complete.

Graphic Novels & the Humanity of Mental Illness
An ALA-funded annotated bibliography of graphic novel titles which can be browsed by title or diagnosis.

Medcomic.com
A site with classroom-friendly graphic medicine content, including videos.

Graphic Medicine YouTube Playlist
A collection of graphic medicine webinars and videos.

Building Health Information Collections

Resources and book title and topic lists for building health information collections in public libraries.

For questions, please contact:

Michael Balkenhol
mab602@pitt.edu

Chris Pryor
pryorc@missouri.edu

Last update: October 2020

Health Insurance

What can libraries do about health insurance?

Libraries have a long history of helping people access health information. A study published in 2010, supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that, in one year, 28 million people used a library computer to get health information.

Public libraries are located in nearly every community in the United States and are recognized as a valuable community resource, offering public meeting spaces, computers, expert searching, and allowing for quiet conversations-making them a natural location for trained counselors to provide outreach and education efforts.

Libraries can play a significant role in their communities with opportunities to provide essential information regarding the Affordable Care Act through a variety of services and programs.

What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama. This landmark legislation allows for greater accessibility for many Americans who previously were unable to afford health care insurance or were declined access due to eligibility requirements.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn about health coverage options, compare insurance plans, select a plan and enroll. Information is also available on programs to help those with low to moderate incomes including ways to save money on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs through the Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Health Insurance Resources

Healthcare.gov
Healthcare.gov is your primary resource for information about the Health Insurance Marketplace as well as about the ACA for the consumer and is available in English and Spanish. Consider signing up for email and text updates for reminders and other important information. The blog also offers great information to keep you updated including how to prepare for the next enrollment whether you are new to the Health Insurance Marketplace or are already enrolled.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created Healthcare.gov it also provides information about the ACA law, some facts and features, including a roadmap to health and better care that explains what health coverage is and how to use it. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been designated as the HHS division responsible for the rollout of ACA. CMS provides information about the initiative, From Coverage to Care, to help people understand their insurance benefits once they enroll.

MedlinePlus
MedlinePlus has a topic page on Health Insurance with several links related to the Affordable Care Act as well as handouts in English and Spanish including topics such as understanding health insurance plans and healthcare costs.

Public Library Association
Check out the Public Library Association's Libraries Connecting You to Coverage webpage with a downloadable guide and several resources to better prepare library staff to support patrons as they navigate the enrollment process for health insurance.

My Health, My Voice
My Health, My Voice is the result of a need by newly insured women who were having trouble using their insurance. Though it was developed specifically with women in mind, it works with a diverse audience and is available in Spanish and English, with several print-ready resources. The guide is written in clear, easy-to-read information including 5 Steps to Care, free preventative services, costs, and more when using health insurance. My Health, My Voice is a project of Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need with Parsons The New School for Design and the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Recorded Webinars

NNLM hosted 2 sessions focusing on health insurance in 2019. The recording links are just below the speakers' bios.

Tools & Print Materials

Order Publications for your Library

Education and Printed Materials from NNLM
Locate your regional medical library to see what materials you can order or print for free online to distribute at your health outreach events. Membership to your local NNLM Regional Medical Library may be required to order materials.

MedlinePlus Magazine
NIH MedlinePlus magazine (bulk subscriptions)
Libraries and organizations can order NIH MedlinePlus magazines in bulk to distribute to members of their community, at no cost quarterly. Single subsciptions are also available.

Download and Print

Libraries Transform Health Literacy Toolkit

The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) and The American Library Association (ALA) have partnered through the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign to create a free toolkit for Health Literacy Month, which is observed in October.

NNLM and ALA’s partnership will equip library professionals with customizable tools to raise awareness of how libraries support health literacy in their communities. The toolkit will provide key messages, program ideas and downloadable marketing materials, including bookmark templates and social media graphics, for libraries to use as they promote health literacy in October and throughout the year. The wide-ranging array of health literacy topics covered include nutrition, aging, and chronic illness.

Download the Toolkit today.
Libraries Transform logo

National Health Observances

National Health Observances resources from the NNLM that include social media images, electronic bulletin slides, and printer friendly materials.

Mental Health Month slide

For questions, please contact:

Michael Balkenhol
mab602@pitt.edu

Chris Pryor
pryorc@missouri.edu

Last update: October 2020