Health Happens in Libraries

Health Happens in Libraries is a program that magnifies the role of public libraries as key contributors to community health. By supporting public library staff with resources to respond confidently to patron requests for health information, and tools to form intentional partnerships with local community health experts, Health Happens in Libraries enhances public library capacity to advance health and wellness priorities in the communities they serve. The formal program ended in June 2016, but the resources and materials continue to be available for anyone to use.

Libraries have a long history of meeting public demand for consumer health information. A recent IMLS study showed that an estimated 37 percent of library computer users (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. Health Happens in Libraries acknowledges the growing intersection of digital technologies and individual health management, and the opportunities for libraries to provide both physical and digital access to meaningful health education in their communities.

This program was run in partnership with ZeroDivide and was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Freely available resources include:

  • A growing repository of health information resources, including examples of related work undertaken by state and public libraries nationwide.
  • Information on upcoming and recorded webinars, where libraries and other community-based health and wellness representatives can share their knowledge and experience.
  • Access project news, including profiles of libraries working to address community health needs and announcements regarding new resource or partnership opportunities.

Most Recently Added

Library Needs and Responses to the Opioid Crisis: A Town Hall Summary

 News / Last Modified: 18 October 2017

The opioid overdose and addiction crisis is crashing through American cities and towns. Opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin, now kill 91 people each day and the number of opioid associated deaths have more than quadrupled since 1999.

Opioid Crisis: Libraries, Resources, Context and Data

 News / Last Modified: 18 October 2017

Over two million people in the U.S. are estimated to be dependent on prescription opioids or heroin. This national epidemic is affecting communities of all sizes and the public libraries that serve them. We've begun to collect links to news, resource...

Hunger and Libraries: Snacks, Backpacks and More

 News / Last Modified: 12 October 2017

Autumn is an excellent time of year to highlight ways libraries are fighting hunger in their communities, and October is a great month to start planning for summer lunch and learning programs. Below you’ll find a list of some resources for learning m...

Columbus Metropolitan Responds to Hunger: Summer Meals and More

 News / Last Modified: 08 October 2017

As a library looks ahead to its busiest programming schedule of the year, why would it consider becoming a summer meal site? At Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), staff realized kids were hungry from the time they arrived at 9am until they left at ...