Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

JM2010 Contributed Paper: News from the Front Lines: Networking the Consumer Health Library

Posted on February 1, 2010 by ebrennan | 1 Comment

By April R Frost, Independent Medical Librarian & Trainer

JM2010: Contributed Paper: News from the Front Lines: Networking the Consumer Health Library. Jackie Davis, Consumer Health Librarian, Sharp HealthCare, San Diego, CA.

Jackie Davis used the theme of the conference to describe her Consumer Health Library, and how she reaches out to people in the community.

Refocus: Jackie believes that health is a social justice issue, and solutions are people-centered, not organization-centered.  Active community participation is the best win-win-win situation: for individuals, society as a whole, and the health care institutions involved. Awareness has been improved through the Patient Safety Movement. There is a noticeable mismatch between the literacy of the public, combined with the medical terminology-speak of health care providers; Jackie
attempts to reduce this gap in the consumer library and the services they provide.

Connect: To bring consumers into the Consumer Health Library, pre-printed prescription pads are placed at doctor’s offices within the community. These prescription pads describe “reasons” that consumers should come to the library. The library itself is designed, using Feng Shui, to be an attractive, safe, welcoming place with a relaxing water feature and welcoming window displays. Consumers can come and relax, browse, shop in the Health Shoppe, and find information on local health resources. The Library works to connect with the community through newsletters, and training the volunteers with marketing tools to use in their community relations.

Engage: The key to a successful community resource is to go to the people; don’t make them come to you. Jackie and the library do this within the hospital system by networking, being on committees, and by planning Health Fairs and Expos. In the community, she engages by teaching classes (example: computer literacy to seniors), contacting local services, speaking at local high schools, and presenting at community Health Fairs and Expos, and by joining the Community Health Improvement Partners Task Force in the community.

To determine the success of the Community Health Library, it is important to focus on the benefits of
the library, not just the features. It is crucial to make sure others know the value of the library. The best way to determine this is to ask the consumers how they describe the library to others, and use their answers as marketing tools. Overall, the way to continue reaching out to the community is to keep moving forward.

Jackie’s presentation was very inspiring and encouraging to those who work with the community.

Posted 2/01/10


One Response to “JM2010 Contributed Paper: News from the Front Lines: Networking the Consumer Health Library”

  1. Andrea Lynch
    April 23rd, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

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