Friday, May 06, 2005

NN/LM's Valuable and FREE Training for Public Libraries

Our library had the pleasure of hosting Sheila Snow-Croft, Outreach Coordinator with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern Atlantic Region, for two classes recently: From Snake Oil to Penicillin: Evaluating Consumer Health Information on the Internet (for Public Librarians) and Beyond an Apple a Day: Providing Consumer Health Information in a Public Library. NN/LM flew both Sheila and Terri Ottosen, NN/LM Consumer Health Coordinator Southeastern Atlantic Region, paid for their lodging AND provided us with excellent consumer healthcare information for our patrons and ourselves at no cost to our library.

Sheila and Terri were extremely knowledgeable and the classes were quite informative. The handouts were complete and useful, plus they left us with plenty of printed materials for patrons. Asked if she could come back early the next morning to do an impromptu class with Reference staff, Sheila agreed without even a blink. Terri will be coming back in the fall to do another series of classes for our staff!

As a follow-up, Sheila sent an email with updates to some of the coursework. Knowing that I'd be blogging this, I'm sure she won't mind if I share some of it with you:

Our website is Most of what we taught can be found online at The info below is pulled directly from the "Providing Health Information Services" link off of that page. Your Reference Librarians may want to explore the sections "Guides for Developing a Community-based Health Information Program" and the "Resource List" as they explore Consumer Health services in your area. Also, both classes are linked here: with the handouts, etc., all provided.

Listed below are the sites we explored in class, plus a few more:

MedlinePlus - - the National Library of Medicine's consumer health web resource. Includes information on 700 health topics, full-text drug information, a full-text medical encyclopedia, daily health news, and more. - - From the American Academy of Family Physicians. Health information for the whole family. - - >From the National Cancer Institute. Extensive information about types of cancer, clinical trials, statistics, and more.

Kidshealth: Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth has the goal of providing families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information.

Lab Tests Online - - A site developed by clinical laboratory professionals to help the public understand lab tests that are part of routine care or used in diagnosis and treatment.

NIH Senior Health - - the National Institutes of Health's web site for seniors and their care givers. - - the National Library of Medicine's searchable database of clinical trials in which consumers may wish to participate.

DIRLINE - - the National Library of Medicine's online directory of health organizations.

TOXTOWN - - the National Library of Medicine's web resource for consumers to understand toxins in their environment.

HEALTHINFOQUEST - - This online resource provides pathfinders to common consumer health questions encountered in public libraries. Each pathfinder stands alone and demonstrates ways to answer sample questions using authoritative and reliable sources.

Guidelines for Providing Medical Information to Consumers -
- from the Connecticut Consumer Health Information Network - These guidelines are to help reference librarians and other library staff answer consumer health and medical questions from library users. Consumer health questions are those that relate directly to a personal medical concern of the person asking for information or the person's relative or friend.

Guidelines on Handling Medical Questions in the Public Library - - from the Nebraska Library Commission reference manual. Includes a section about dealing with telephone inquiries.

Thank you Sheila, Terri and NN/LM!