Cynthia Reynolds, Regional Health Sciences Librarian for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Crawford Library of the Health Sciences, applied for and received a GMR award to reinvigorate consumer health outreach in Rockford, Illinois.
UIC’s Crawford Library serves the UIC medical school in Rockford, Illinois. As an academic library, its primary users are pharmacy, nursing, and medicine students and faculty. However, the Crawford Library also has a mission to serve Rockford and the surrounding communities in Winnebago County with a Consumer Health Collection open to the public.
Unfortunately, the public university has faced increasing state budget cuts. With limited funding, the library has had to to focus on its primary academic mission to support the educational needs of its students and faculty. This has resulted in an aging consumer print collection and a reduction in outreach activities to the community. Additionally, the community’s health needs have been changing along with the outdated material. Sorely needed is information addressing the primary health concerns of its progressively older and racially diverse population as identified in the OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment 2016 and the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps snapshot report for Winnebago County.
To remain relevant, the library requested funding from the GMR to revive the print collection with new, evidence-based material that is easy-to-read both in English and Spanish as well as audio, visual, and graphic materials for audiences with various accessibility and learning styles. In addition to sourcing credible publishers such as Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic, she will highlight National Library of Medicine and other National Institutes of Health free and trustworthy consumer health information such as MedlinePlus, Genetics Home Reference, Tox Town, and ClinicalTrials.gov.
Not only will Cynthia improve the library’s consumer print and digital collection, she will raise the community’s awareness of the library resources. She intends to promote the consumer health library using the local media and will teach consumer health education programs at the public library and other community locations.
Using the National Network of Libraries of Medicine logic models for planning and implementation, Cynthia will achieve an enhanced and relevant consumer health information library widely known to the community. She also will assess collection lending and database usage looking for increased numbers and will evaluate her training sessions to ascertain learning outcomes.
We wish Cynthia success with her efforts in support of the mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to improve public access to quality information so that her community can make informed decisions about their personal health and gain quality-of-life outcomes.