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Featured Projects, National Medical Librarians Month, October 2006

In addition to the many librarians on the National Library of Medicine staff, NLM relies heavily on the work of medical librarians associated with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, made up of more than 5,800 member organizations. In recognition of National Medical Librarians Month, October 2006, NLM’s web site is currently featuring links to some great representative projects recently carried out by network members around the country.

NN/LM PNR’s highlighted projects are featured below. Read about projects from all the NN/LM regions at:

Skagit Valley Hospital
Mount Vernon, WA

Project director: Sue Jacobsen

The goal of GetHELP (Health, Education, Library Partnership) was to improve the health literacy of Skagit County’s low-income and/or low-literate health care consumers, by teaching the librarians and public health workers who work with these consumers how to guide them to basic, easily understood health information. Community librarians and public health workers were given an introduction to evaluating health resources, and were trained to use the best resources. A health information prescription pad and information resources brochure were developed, publicizing services offered by libraries, and were distributed to the target consumers by community partners. Based on work with local partners, GetHELP also developed the GetHELP Health Literacy class, appropriate for any adult audience, which focuses on finding and using reliable health resources, communicating with health care providers, and keeping health records. GetHELP Health Literacy has been taught at clinics, senior centers, and at a community assistance agency, which also hosted a train the trainer session. The class continues to be offered, broadening awareness of how to find and use health information, and promoting libraries, and librarians, as a community resource for everyone.

In the Know
Portland State University – Branford P. Millar Library
Portland, OR

Project director: Rose M. Jackson

Outside In, an award-winning Portland medical/support agency, established its Transgender/Identity Resource Center (TiRC) based on the fact that almost 20% of its low income and homeless clients are transsexuals. The In the Know outreach project acquired materials for a reference library for the TiRC, which proved to be a challenging task, due to the “grey” nature and scarcity of much of the literature. In the Know then trained TiRC staff in the use of the collection, and to help market the collection, announced an open call for representative artwork, using four of the submitted works in library promotional materials. The TiRC Reference Library was officially launched with an art show, and a speech by internationally-known transgender activist Jamison Green. In the Know has also created a TiRC Reference Library Board, composed of Outside In staff, activists, and a sociology professor, as well as librarians. This board helped to develop the reference library at all stages, and will sustain it by seeking funding to expand the collection, and continuing to market it. In the Know provided a solid foundation for assembling a large core collection of transgender medical, legal, and other nonfiction, to help this community access material to enhance well-being.

Public Health’s Digital Library
Public Health – Seattle & King County
Seattle, WA

Project directors: Ann Madhavan, Karen Hartfield

Public Health’s Digital Library developed a customized online gateway to resources for Seattle & King County public health practitioners. The Digital Library’s website links to both free and fee-based information on a wide range of public health topics, and to bibliographic databases, directories, evidence-based public health sites, best practices, health data, funding information, and training opportunities. Access is provided to an intranet-based collection of fee-based electronic journals, reference assistance, and document delivery services. The website also offers guidelines for locating public health open access and public library-owned electronic journals. An important goal of the Public Health’s Digital Library project is to assess public health information needs and use of the Digital Library, to inform future development of information products and services for public health practitioners. Public Health’s Digital Library is the result of a new partnership between Public Health – Seattle & King County and the University of Washington Health Sciences Libraries, and is funded by the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund.

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