Consumer Health Information Source Book

By Alan M. Rees | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11

Consumer Health Information in Action: Profiles of 12 Innovative Libraries
by Donna FlakeCoastal AHEC, Wilmington, North CarolinaThe intent of this chapter is to present 12 excellent examples of consumer health libraries in order to assist library directors and staff by pro viding examples of the range and depth of services offered, insight into organizational structure, funding, marketing, and other management issues. Furthermore, the chapter provides insight into the print and electronic collections of these libraries, as well as problems faced by the libraries. This chapter should be helpful to those considering creating a consumer health library, and also for established consumer health libraries for comparison data.These 12 examples of consumer health libraries in the United States and Canada offer the reader a broad array of consumer health libraries. These libraries are in shopping malls, hospitals, public libraries, Victorian houses, and wellness centers. One of these libraries is directed by a nurse. The libraries provide imaginative and appealing features and services to their users. Some of these features include children's play areas, working fireplaces to bring warmth to worried souls, colorful fish aquariums, and large traffic signs to point the way to the consumer health libraries from nearby busy roads. Significant programs within the consumer health libraries include blood pressure screenings, health insurance counseling, homework help for children whose parents do not speak English, partnerships with adult literacy pro grams, hospital bedside health information for patients, and visits by high school health and education classes. How varied are the consumer health libraries? Many of the 12 examples of consumer health library are actually hybrid libraries. In other words, they are combinations of several sorts of libraries.Consider these definitions:
• A consumer health library provides lay level health information to the lay public, or consumer.
• A medical library supplies health information to health professionals. Medical libraries exist in hospitals, in universities, and in other in-stitutions.
• A public library disseminates all types of information to the general public, including some consumer health information.

The following 12 consumer health libraries are described in this chapter:

1. Consumer Health Service of New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, North Carolina
2. Christiana Care Health System Community Health Library, Wilmington, Delaware
3. Health Learning Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois

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