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

Pandemic Challenges and Learning Outcomes from RAILS

Publish Date: News / 7 December 2021

Monica Harris is the Associate Executive Director of RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System), which serves approximately 1,300 academic, public, school, and special library agencies in northern and west-central Illinois. We caught up with Mon...

Build on Strengths When Responding to a Crisis

Publish Date: News / 11 November 2021

As the REALM project (REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums) continues to gather and adapt science-based information to inform local decision making by libraries, archives, and museums, it’s been essential to listen to the real-world experiences...

Public Health is Part of Library Outreach

Publish Date: News / 3 November 2021

Outreach efforts in the public library increasingly center around building, sustaining, and leveraging community partnerships, including with public health partners. That fact was evident at the 2021 Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services’...