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:

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

Most Recently Added

Project J.O.B. Aligns Health and Economic Opportunity for Community

 News / Last Modified: 23 June 2017

Thorson Memorial Library, in collaboration with the Grant County Child & Youth Council, embarked on a project titled J.O.B., standing for Jobs, Opportunities and Benefits. This project launched as part of the library’s participation in the Public...

Health Websites for Spanish Speakers

 Document / Last Modified: 07 June 2017

List of useful websites to find health information for Spanish speakers. Created in conjunction with Siga Adelante health and safety workshops.

Library Community Health Contributions on Display at ALA

 News / Last Modified: 06 June 2017

Five libraries from across the United States have collaborated with the Health Happens in Libraries team to develop and deliver community health activities. As a result of their vision and leadership, these libraries have established or deepened loca...

Library Staff Members as Health Literacy First Responders

 News / Last Modified: 06 June 2017

Misinformation about health abounds in today’s info-glutted environment. What does this mean for public libraries, and what role can they play in addressing issues of accurate health information?

A panel of excellent presenters addressed thi...