A partnership between academic and public librarians: “What the Health” workshop series





Consumer Health, Public Librarians, Health Sciences Librarians


Background: Public librarians are in a unique position to assist the general public with health information inquiries. However, public librarians might not have the training, detailed knowledge, and confidence to provide high-quality health information.

Case Presentation: The authors created and delivered three workshops to public librarians in Suffolk County, New York, highlighting several National Library of Medicine resources. Each workshop focused on a different topic: general consumer health resources, genetics health resources, and environmental/toxicology resources. At the end of each workshop, participants were asked to complete the Training Session Evaluation form provided by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM). All participants reported that they learned a new skill or about a new tool, that their ability to locate online health information improved, and that they planned to use the knowledge they gained in the future. Online tutorials covering the major resources from each workshop were created and made accessible to the public on several organizations’ websites. Virtual reference services were initiated for public librarians who need further assistance with these resources and will continue to be provided on an ongoing basis. Financial support for the equipment and software utilized in each of these tasks was provided by NNLM.

Conclusions: Based on attendance and participant feedback, this model of health information outreach appears to have been successful in furthering the educational needs of public librarians and may be useful to others in creating a similar program in their communities.

Author Biographies

Jessica A. Koos, Health Sciences Librarian, Health Sciences Library, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Jessica A. Koos is a Health Sciences Librarian at Stony Brook University.

Jamie Saragossi, Head, Health Sciences Library, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Jamie Saragossi is Head of the Health Sciences Library at Stony Brook University.

Gregg A. Stevens, Health Sciences Librarian, Health Sciences Library, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Gregg Stevens is a Health Sciences Librarian at Stony Brook University.

Salvatore Filosa, Marketing and Outreach Librarian, Port Jefferson Free Library, Port Jefferson, NY

Salvatore Filosa is a Marketing and Outreach Librarian at the Port Jefferson Free Library.


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Case Report