Cultivating a community of practice: the evolution of a health information specialists program for public librarians

Shari Clifton, Phill Jo, Jean Marie Longo, Tara Malone


Background: To help improve the culture of health in Oklahoma—a state that frequently ranks poorly on multiple measures of health and wellness—faculty librarians from an academic health sciences library sought to create a collaborative network of health information professionals in Oklahoma’s public libraries through the implementation of the Health Information Specialists Program.

Case Presentation: Health sciences librarians offered a variety of consumer health information courses for public library staff across the state of Oklahoma for three years. Courses were approved by the Medical Library Association for credit toward the Consumer Health Information Specialization. A total of seventy-two participants from public libraries attended the courses, sixty-five achieved a Level I Consumer Health Information Specialization, and nine went on to achieve Level II.

Conclusions: Feedback from participants in the Health Information Specialists Program has indicated a positive impact on the health information expertise of participants, who in turn have used the knowledge that they gained to help their patrons.


Outreach; Consumer Health Information; Public Libraries; Health Sciences Libraries; Collaboration

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Copyright (c) 2017 Shari Clifton, Phill Jo, Jean Longo, Tara Malone

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