By not specifically highlighting how the work of public libraries impacts disadvantaged populations we’re simultaneously selling ourselves short, reinforcing the idea that libraries are for some and not all, and slowly but surely digging our own grave. Our advocacy must start getting real about who is using our libraries and for what reasons. A public building is intended for public use, and not just the version of the public that people feel comfortable being around. Our facilities, services, programming and materials should be able to be used by even the most marginalized in our societies. Otherwise we’re not doing our job and assisting in its demise.
Posts Tagged ‘health literacy’
Every Single One of Us has a Role to Play in Solving this Crisis: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on Childhood Adversity
When Dr. Nadine Burke Harris opened her pediatric practice in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point, she soon noticed a correlation between patients who had experienced some sort of trauma early in life and their physical health. Her resulting research, which built upon the Adverse Childhood Experiences study performed in the 1990s, led to her groundbreaking The Deepest […]
Whether they’re searching the Internet, watching television, or browsing social media, Americans are bombarded with information related to their health, but the messages they’re receiving may not be understandable, reliable, or even credible. Faced with confusing medical terminology, conflicting reports, and a constantly changing healthcare system, people are looking to their local public libraries for guidance. That’s why the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) is partnering with the Public Library Association (PLA): to help libraries meet the challenges of keeping up with evidence-based health resources and producing successful health programming.
Just as public libraries are about more than books, health is about more than healthcare. Partnerships between public libraries and community health stakeholders address disparities in access to health information and services by providing inclusive entry points to reliable and relevant health resources and support. Access to and meaningful use of information is core to effective individual health management. Experts recognize that health literacy is essential for individuals, organizations, and communities to develop. Yet in the United States, adult health literacy levels vary from below basic (14 percent), to basic (22 percent), intermediate (53 percent) and proficient (12 percent). Title V of the Affordable Care Act defines health literacy as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions.”
A recent IMLS study showed that an estimated 28 million people use library computers and seek assistance from librarians for health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, finding health care providers, and assessing health insurance options. The library’s role in health information dissemination became perhaps most well-known with the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace launch in 2013. Because of this massive change in federal healthcare, Webjunction partnered with ZeroDivide to create the program Health Happens in Libraries.