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

Wikipedia + Libraries: Health and Medical Information

 News / Last Modified: 16 July 2019

WebJunction and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine will present a free, online course for public library staff about health and medical information on Wikipedia.

When public library staff assist patrons seeking information ...

Opioid Addiction Resources for Patrons

 News / Last Modified: 07 July 2019

The opioid crisis which has crashed through American communities has brought patrons to public libraries seeking information about opioids and addiction. This collection of resources can help you connect patrons to the information that they need to s...

Opioid Crisis Town Hall: Library Needs and Responses

 Webinar / Last Modified: 02 July 2019

WebJunction and PLA invites libraries and their community partners to join this virtual town hall discussion about current library needs and possible responses to the nation's opioid crisis.

Opioid Crisis Responses from Public Libraries

 News / Last Modified: 02 July 2019

As staff, trustees and volunteers of public libraries around the country are being confronted by the opioid crisis, news stories, events and resources have surfaced which highlight how libraries are addressing these emerging needs. From administering...