Public libraries are welcome to join the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. There is no cost to join and membership entitles you to a variety of benefits:
* Access to health information experts. To find other network members near you, search our member directory. You can also call the NNLM PNR to be referred to a medical Librarian. Call us at 1-206-543-8262.
* Eligibility for funding opportunities for health information outreach projects and activities. NNLM PNR staff can assist with proposal development and refer you to others who have successfully received funding in the past.
* Use of promotional materials for National Library of Medicine resources you can use for outreach projects, at health fairs or health-related displays in your library.
Especially for Public Libraries
Public libraries are encouraged to start at MedlinePlus.gov, the National Library of Medicine's consumer health portal site, when investigating health information topics.
Seeking information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Our Pacific Northwest Region's ACA website contains both national and state-specific resources you can use!
Training Opportunities and Materials
NNLM PNR staff gladly offer training sessions for public libraries interested in National Library of Medicine resources and other health information topics. Our goal is to equip public libraries with increased confidence and skill in providing health information. One good starting place is the Consumer Health section of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine's site.
For more in-depth training, there are several free courses available. All of the courses listed below have been certified for the Medical Library Association's Consumer Health Information Specialization Program. We also encourage you to use these training materials to educate your library's staff and patrons.
Below are resources to refer to in your health reference services created by NNLM coordinators to help guide your library staff.
- Consumer Health
- Consumer Health Reference Interview and Ethical Issues
- Evaluating Health Websites
- Health Literacy
In addition, NNLM has created some free tools to use to get your library or organization started promoting health and wellness or to enhance what has already initiated.
- NNLM Reading Club which includes book selections, discussion questions, the books themselves, and more
- National Health Observances toolkits to highlight specific health topics or health conditions
- Community Engagement Toolkit to help libraries partner with other community organizations
- The Game of Health to introduce patrons to trusted health information resources
Library associations and organizations also provide helpful information for libraries to use for health reference and programming.
- Public Library Association website, Healthy Community Tools for Public Libraries
- Public Library Association Health Interest Group (PLA membership required)
- Medical Library Association website, For Patients
- Medical Library Association's, Consumer and Patient Health Information Section's updated Most Trusted Health Websites
- American Library Association LibGuide, Health Information in Libraries
- ALA's Reference and User Services Association's Health and Medical Reference Guidelines
- WebJunction, Health Happens in Libraries
Consumer Health Classes for Public Libraries
- Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community: This course is specifically for public library staff and is designed to provide a foundation of health and wellness information reference, programming and community outreach. It covers all 8 of the competencies required for the Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) level 1 or level 2.
- Beyond an Apple A Day: Providing Consumer Health Information in the Public Library: This class covers the information seeking behaviors of consumers and the role of the librarian in the provision of health information for the public. It will address health literacy, the reference interview, and privacy issues. Participants will be equipped with the knowledge of top consumer health sites as well as allow for discussion of creative ideas for health information outreach.
- Healthy Aging at Your Library: Connecting Older Adults to Health Information: This "train the trainer" class is designed to help librarians assist their older adult patrons find health information. Discover tips to assist older adults to use computers and find health information on the Internet, learn what makes a website senior-friendly, plan programs on senior health topics, and help your older patrons become more engaged in their health care.
- From A(ddiction) to Z(its): Providing Health Information to Teens: Public librarians, school librarians, school nurses, and youth focused community organizations will find this class informative for their work. The class presents an overview of health information needs of teens and their information seeking behaviors, review communication tips needed during reference interviews, and explore credible health information resources designed for teenagers.
- ABCs of DNA: Unraveling the Mystery of Genetics Information for Consumers: Genetics is increasingly becoming a factor in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases as well as frequently seen in headline news. Librarians working with the public need to be aware of issues surrounding genetics and resources to assist patrons in locating and evaluating sometimes complex and confusing information associated with their health. The class will cover genomic health literacy and provide reliable resources regarding health conditions with a genetic component, privacy, genetic testing, and precision medicine.
- Health Issues in the Headlines: Learning to Read Between the Lines: Often the first place your patrons will hear about health issues is in the media. This interactive course will introduce participants to the environment of health reporting. Participants will learn about how health is reported in the news as well as how to evaluate the accuracy and validity of the information as reported in the news media.
For other training opportunities, please visit the NNLM training opportunities.
Visit our Training Resources You Can Use page to find consumer health resources, toolkits, and presentation materials and more.