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Public Libraries and Health Information Outreach in the Time of COVID-19

The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic called for individuals to seek out and apply health information at a rapid pace. The sheer amount of available information proved to be overwhelming, and the complexity, contradictory, and sometimes misinformation made an already difficult situation even more devastating. Historically, public libraries have been known for being community-centered institutions providing equitable access to information and resources. Seen as trusted members of the community and the “go-to” for information, public librarians play an important role in improving individual’s access to health information and the overall well-being of their communities. Through this project we seek to assess the information needs of public librarians throughout Tennessee, specifically targeting health information practices related to COVID-19. The survey will better inform our educational efforts and aid in meeting NN/LM’s goal of improving access to information, enabling community members to make more informed health decisions. Through educational outreach efforts, this project seeks to address community challenges to optimizing health and well-being through a health information training targeting public librarians throughout Tennessee. More specifically, the main objectives of this project are to better understand the roles and current practices of public librarians in providing consumer health information services within their libraries and to increase knowledge and utilization of high-quality health information resources of public library staff through the development of training and educational activities. Using the ‘Train-the-Trainer' approach, we aim to support public libraries in their ability to carry out health information and health literacy support in their communities to further support health equity throughout Tennessee.
Identify any specific population(s) this project will serve: 
Medically Underserved Areas/Populations
Behavioral/Social Determinants of Health
Identify roles of participants this project will serve: 
Library or information professional
Project Lead:
Leah Cordova
Funding Source: 
Project Funding:
Federal Fiscal Year: 
Funding Amount: 
Funding Period:
Dec 11, 2020 to Apr 30, 2021
Project Status: