Overview of Community Health Information Programs

What are community health information programs?

Community health information programs are simply those that bring together the resources and skills of community organizations to address a health information need. Seeking out agencies and individuals with a shared vision is an important aspect of these programs. Because the programs are initiated at the community level, there is likely to be more buy-in and participation from the outset of a given project.

What is the role of public libraries with community partners?

Public libraries are by nature an integral part of their communities. Many agencies, including public libraries, provide health information. By partnering with other organizations, public libraries are better able to:

  • Help people access needed services and resources.
  • Enhance information sharing, referral, and collaboration among community agencies.
  • Provide information that helps people make informed decisions.

Where should public libraries start in developing a community health information program?

The Brief Guides that follow will give you ideas of how to proceed with creating a successful program to meet the health information needs of your community. As you read through the guides, you will notice a lot of emphasis on evaluation. It is important to keep in mind from the very beginning what you want your program to accomplish. What is it that you hope will happen as a result of your program or project? By keeping the end goal in mind from the outset, you will be able to measure your success much more easily once the program is underway. This is particularly important when it comes time to report back to your funding source for the program, your administration, and to your community as a whole. You want to be confident that the program can succeed in achieving its original planned results.