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Archive for September, 2013

Role of Librarians and the ACA

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

[Forwarded from NLM]

WebJunction’s web site has been updated to reflect a question related to the role of libraries and librarians and the Affordable Care Act:

“How can I explain the role of libraries in supporting the ACA to people who wonder how libraries are involved and what our role is?

Libraries have a long history of helping people access health information. A recent study 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.

We know that people will continue to go the library for health information and, as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, we can expect that many people will turn to the library for help. Librarians are experts at helping people find web sites and information they are looking for. Library workers can help people find CMS Navigators and certified application counselors in their area who have special training to help people make decisions about health insurance enrollment through the Marketplace.

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, and allowing for quiet conversations—making them a natural location for trained counselors to provide outreach and education efforts.”

Summary: CDC Health Litearcy Agenda Webinar

Monday, September 16th, 2013

By Anne Conner, NN/LM NER Healty Literacy COI Leader; Director, Gale Medical Library, Littleton, NH

Cynthia Baur’s CDC’s Health Literacy Agenda CE webinar on September 11, 2013 was extremely informative.  Cynthia is the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy at the CDC’s Office of the Associate Director for Communication (OADC).  She started off by giving the CDC’s three health literacy goals, which are based on the National Action Plan to improve health literacy goals which came about with the Federal Plain Writing Act of 2010.  What is the CDC doing to promote a clear communication culture across the organization?  Cynthia included a slide detailing their 7-step process in a graphical format.  These steps may be applied in our own organizations.

I really liked The CDC Clear Communication Index, which is a research-based tool to plan and assess public communication materials.  The Index provides a numerical score on a scale of 100, with four (4) questions and twenty (20) items which the research shows are the most important characteristics to enhance clarity and aid people’s understanding.  It’s available through

This tool represents an evolution from several plain language guides produced by the CDC. In addition, there’s a companion guide which details how to use the Index.  I urge you to check it out. I really like the fact that this Index provides an unbiased score, and rates materials in seven areas: main message and call to action, language, information design, state of the science, behavioral recommendations, numbers, and risk. A score of 90 or above indicates that the finished product addresses most items that make materials easier to understand and use; if the score is 89 or below, the material needs revision.  The User Guide gives descriptions and examples for ways to improve the material.

The other important topic Cynthia discussed the potential role for libraries collaborating on clear communication projects with public health agencies. Partnering with local health agencies ties in well with the National Action Plan To Improve Health Literacy’s Goal 4 (, which is to “Support and Expand Local Efforts To Provide Adult Education, English Language Instruction, and Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Health Information Services in the Community”.  It’s not possible for the CDC to understand the needs of all audiences… everywhere.  We have an opportunity to form relationships with our local health departments, identifying information gaps and audiences not being reached.  In addition, we can review materials for clear communication using the Index.

If you want to view the webinar, point your browser to   I highly recommend this webinar if you are interested in furthering clear communication in your institutions or through public health partnerships in your areas.

Knowledge Management: A Primer [Natick]

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The Massachusetts library System is offering a Knowledge Management classes in three locations:

October 28, 2013 from 1-3:30pm (Natick)

October 29, 2013 from 1-3:30pm (Lakeville)

October 30, 2013 from 1-3:30pm (Worcester)

Below is a short description of the course.  If you are interested in registering go to


Could your library benefit from formalized structures to encourage staff to exchange a variety of skills, tools, and practices with each other?

This workshop will focus on the building blocks of Knowledge Management: those practices that, when implemented in a library environment, contribute to valued efficiencies and decision-making. We will address the complex challenges around retaining institutional memory, training and learning, and human resources functions.

Through a series of real life scenarios, experiential exercises, and much discussion, participants will discover practices to facilitate collaboration, strategies to retain organizational memory and knowledge assets, and inexpensive, user-friendly tools to readily access documents and information and to know ‘who is doing what’?

Participants can expect to leave this workshop with a roadmap for their library administration to plan and implement Knowledge Management practices that are tailored to the organization’s identified needs, objectives, and culture.

Wanted! Bibliographies of Internet resources – on topics of interest to consumer health librarians

Friday, September 6th, 2013

We co-edit a column in the quarterly publication – Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet   <>

The journal is peer-reviewed and indexed in CINAHL.


If you’ve recently prepared a subject bibliography of Internet resources, you’re half-way there! Turn your project into a published article with only a couple of additional hours’ work.


Recent topics cover a wide range topics – from Disaster Resources to Lung Cancer and Childhood Obesity.

Suggestions that we’ve considered for the coming year include the ACA, resources for care-givers, mosquito-borne diseases – but send us YOUR ideas!

Articles for the “WebHealth Topics” column should be 12-15 double-spaced pages (Times New Roman, 12-pt. font) – including a brief abstract, 2-3 screenshots and references. Full author instructions provided after we agree to a timetable.

Contact either of the editors of this column with your topic ideas.


Mary Virginia Taylor

Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, Shreveport, LA


Priscilla Stephenson

Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA

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