An Analysis of a Consumer Health Partnership Between Academic and Public Libraries

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Objectives: The purpose of this presentation is to analyze a statewide consumer health training program that involved a partnership between academic and public libraries. The project was conducted from 2004–2010. Over 250 participants from public libraries received MLA’s Consumer Health Information Specialization Level 1 certificate as a result of the project.

Methods: Participants from the public libraries were interviewed either individually or in small groups. Thoughts on the classes, their experience with consumer health information, and MedlinePlus as a product were elicited from the participants. Their observations were recorded. The findings were analyzed, and dominant themes were identified.

Results: The motivation behind this effort was reports that the first place people with a new diagnosis go for information is the public library. Anecdotal evidence shows that the participants enjoyed the classes and felt empowered by the training. Many expressed interest in continuing training.

Conclusions: Public libraries are valuable partners for medical librarians. We wanted to look for evidence to see if there was any value in this project in order to know whether to repeat it in the future or whether to promote it as a model to other geographical areas


Boston, MA

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