Lamar Soutter Library; National Network of Libraries of Medicine, NER
Health Sciences and Medical Librarianship | Information Literacy | Public Health
Background: The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region (NNLM NER) provides training, funding and support for health information outreach. To raise awareness of these opportunities, NNLM NER conducts annual Focused Outreach (FO) initiatives. FO targets two geographic areas each year, one rural and one urban. NNLM NER contacts librarians, educators, health care providers, public health workers and/or community leaders to identify key informants. NNLM NER conducts eight-twelve interviews before scanning available data to identify health priorities. FO includes synthesizing community observations of health information needs; identifying target populations and health information foci; and designing health information outreach strategies. Evaluation is based upon process assessment, noting changes in participation rates in NNLM NER activities.
Description: For Y3, NNLM NER conducted FO in Bangor, ME with a spotlight on the work of librarians. NNLM NER interviewed nine librarians at various locations, including two hospital libraries, two urban libraries, two rural libraries, a community college library and a state library. NNLM NER looked at data from the U.S. Census, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, local newspapers and local community health needs assessments. Librarians identified these health priorities: mental health; disability; substance use; sexual abuse; violence; trauma; poverty and suicide. Data supported these reports, and revealed concerns about child welfare, obesity, alcohol-impaired driving and sexually transmitted infections. Upon recommendation of library personnel at Maine State Library, Bangor Public Library and Eastern Maine Community College, NNLM NER identified four strategies: database training for academic and hospital libraries; training on compassion fatigue for public library staff; technology funds for community college library; and professional development reimbursement for library staff.
Conclusion: NNLM NER provided tailored PubMed webinar training for twenty librarians. NNLM NER funded Bangor Public Library staff training on compassion fatigue to provide information on how mental health, trauma, homelessness and substance use disorder impacts the community. The training, conducted by local social service agencies, raised awareness of self-care methods that enable good customer service. Library staff at Eastern Maine Community College acquired tablets to be used in the promotion of health resources. One Eastern Maine Community College librarian received funding to attend a national conference. We saw growth in participation in our training. Y1 = 2 participants from 04401 and 04402. Y2 = 9. Y3 = 50% increase (19). Three Bangor-area librarians registered to attend the NNLM NER funding meeting for Y4, in contrast to zero participants in Y3 and five participants in Y2. FO increased participation in training but not requests for funding in Y4. Ultimately, we did not receive requests for additional funding… yet!
community health, public libraries, health literacy, community colleges
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Medical Library Association Annual Meeting
Malachowski MG. (2019). Boosting the Work of Librarians in Community Health Information. University of Massachusetts Medical School Publications. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/publications/24
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