Lamar Soutter Library; National Network of Libraries of Medicine, NER
Health Sciences and Medical Librarianship | Information Literacy | Public Health
Objective: To evaluate and further develop an asynchronous consumer health information course to meet the specific needs of public library staff. Development will be based upon evaluation data, instructional design principles and learner-centered approaches. Revised course will meet existing public library certification requirements and requirements for Level 1 certification of the Medical Library Association’s Consumer Health Information Specialization.
Background: Research shows that consumers turn to public libraries when seeking health information. Public library staff report apprehension when asked health questions. Public librarians explicitly express interest in: learning about reliable sources of health information; matching patron needs with appropriate resources; ethical issues related to health information reference; teaching patrons how to conduct searches; and privacy and confidentiality during reference interviews. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine provides free educational opportunities to public library staff through webinars, in-person instruction and asynchronous courses. Earning library-related continuing education credits is required in some states. Research supports the need for increased staff knowledge and confidence in handling health-related questions.
Description: The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region received funding to support the evaluation and development of an asynchronous consumer health information course. Requirements of this project: incorporate recommendations from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine instructors, National Library of Medicine staff and public library staff; pilot the revised course with a nationwide cohort; incorporate feedback from the pilot; deliver a second instance of the revised course. The revised course must meet existing requirements for public library certification and for Level 1 certification of the Medical Library Association’s Consumer Health Information Specialization. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region partnered with the Public Library Association and OCLC’s WebJunction to evaluate the course to meet the needs of public library staff. With input from WebJunction), the National Network of Libraries of Medicine staff streamlined the course before enrolling 64 library staff into the first cohort. The Public Library Association and WebJunction assisted with the call for participation in the second cohort of 75 library staff. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine revised the course after each cohort, using evaluation data, instructional design principles and learner-centered approaches.
Results: University of Iowa’s Center for Evaluation and Assessment provided evaluation of the project. Course participants gave overwhelmingly positive feedback. Participants reported sharing resources with directors and colleagues, incorporating newly acquired knowledge at the reference desk, and utilizing new collection development strategies. Both cohorts experienced a 47% attrition rate. Library staff reported lack of time as the most common reason for discontinuing. Participants received a follow-up questionnaire 3 months after completing the course. Fifty percent reported developing new programming or outreach. Almost 100% reported continued use of a resource taught in the course. Course meets public library certification requirements and requirements for Level 1 certification of the Medical Library Association’s Consumer Health Information Specialization.
public libraries, health literacy, National Library of Medicine
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Medical Library Association Annual Meeting
Malachowski MG, Newman B, Martin C. (2019). Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community poster. University of Massachusetts Medical School Publications. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/publications/25
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