Health Links at the Library: Increasing Health Literacy Through Websites for Small Oklahoma Public Libraries
According to a 2015 Pew Research Study, 73% of people who visit public libraries in America go looking for answers about their health. Furthermore, a recent study by the Institute of Museum and Library Services showed that over a 12-month period, an estimated 28 million people in the United States used library computers or sought assistance from librarians for health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, finding health care providers, and assessing health insurance options. Public library websites can provide their communities with curated, credible digital resources about health and wellness. However, many small Oklahoma public libraries lack a library website. Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) will develop a basic public library website for a pilot group of small Oklahoma libraries that do not have a library website. The websites will include webpages of credible health resources so that community members can access information about their health, from either at the library or through any internet-enabled device. Because these small libraries have very limited staff and are often unable to travel to ODL for training, and because the library staff in these small communities often lack the technical knowledge to maintain a website, ODL library consultants will travel to the pilot sites to train library staff in website maintenance and health literacy, focusing on the health resources we will develop for their website. Local community health partners and library patrons will be invited to a follow-up training to learn how to use the health resources on the new website. Promotional materials will be developed to publicize the libraries' health literacy resources. As part of this initiative, each pilot site with be provided necessary technology for public access.