Got patrons with health questions? PLA/NNLM sessions at upcoming conferences may help you provide answers.

Public Library Association /

Americans are bombarded with information related to their health, but the messages they receive 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. Are you prepared to help them?

The Public Library Association (PLA) and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) will host programs at two upcoming library conferences as part of Promoting Healthy Communities, a new nationwide initiative intended to increase public library workers’ knowledge and skills related to consumer health services.

The first will be a special “unconference” event at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. This discussion group session, titled “Public Libraries Supporting the Healthy and Wellness of Your Community” will be held 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 11. Unconference participants are encouraged discuss ways to provide quality health information to library patrons.

At the PLA 2018 Conference in Philadelphia, PLA and NNLM will offer a preconference workshop titled "Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community." Held on Tuesday, March 20, this full-day workshop will review core competencies of providing health and wellness services; coach participants through understanding their communities’ needs; and explore how to create health-related programming for different age groups and special populations. Fifty stipends of $500 are available to offset the preconference registration fee, travel and lodging expenses. Details can be found here, and stipend applications are due by November 19.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant # 1UG4LM012346-01 with The University of Iowa.