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Washington Librarian Increases Awareness and Serves Rural Communities

Beshia Popescu, MBI, MLS, AHIP, Medical Librarian at Peacehealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, Washington, tells her story for our contest to recognize National Medical Librarians Month. Other entries will be featured later in the month of October.

As a hospital department at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center, Longview WA, the Minthorn Medical Library participated in the hospital’s annual employee benefits fair on September 21st from 7am to 3 pm. A poster proudly displaying photos of the library, list of databases, library services available to all hospital employees and community, a laptop computer, and a librarian comprise the library’s booth. I answered questions, informed about available resources, and promoted library awareness. An estimated 200 people came through the library booth throughout the day. At the closing time, the person at the YMCA came over and said, “I have a question and I’ve been looking at your poster all day. Why didn’t I think of asking you sooner?” She wanted to know how long TB spores can survive outside a human body, i.e. remain viable. I was able to email her three links to websites: Health Information page, MedlinePlus, and CDC, all contain the answer to her question. By participating in the employee benefits fair at my hospital, visibility of the library and librarians and awareness of the library services were increased.

Another project I worked on was the C.A.R.E. (Cancer Awareness: Resources and Education) collection at the public libraries in the surrounding communities. The goal of this project was to provide a starting point for cancer patients and their family and care providers to access cancer information at a place outside of the hospital. A cancer source book, articles, pamphlets and a list of websites are gathered and delivered to the Longview City Library and the Kelso City Library. A designated area was set aside in the libraries to make this information easily accessible. I plan to repeat the performance for other rural communities: Clatskanie, OR, Rainier OR and Castle Rock, WA in the future. Although this project was intended to provide access to information in the rural, under-served areas, library awareness was promoted in the process.

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