by Claudine Taillac, M.A., MLIS
Volunteer Services & Training Librarian
Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library
The Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library received funding from the NNLM Pacific Southwest Region to conduct a “Mini-Award,” running from February through April, 2017. The funding provided support for a partnership between the public library and the Coconino County Public Health Services District to provide a target group with a structured training program that included information, tools, and educational interventions to facilitate an understanding of how to access information and resources regarding health, both locally and electronically.
The public library reference librarian and a public health educator designed a training program that met the identified areas of need within Coconino County. These areas were: oral hygiene and the County’s preventive care voucher program; immunization education; smoking cessation; nutrition; communicable diseases; injury prevention and first aid. Training sessions were scheduled at two libraries in Flagstaff, and one library on the Navajo Reservation in Tuba City, AZ. The program was titled Living Well in 2017 and marketed as an opportunity for individuals and families to participate in hands-on training and education to achieve greater health. Marketing for the training programs was conducted through the library, the Public Health Services District, the Flagstaff Family Food Center, The Literacy Center, and several health clinics. The award provided funding to pay Youth Services staff from the library to provide child care during all but one of the trainings. Having free child care available to participants had been identified by the coordinating agencies as a determinant element in achieving successful participation rates.
Five Public Health Educators provided the training and education on the six identified areas of need, and the reference librarian provided training on how to access the online resources available through the library for trusted, research-based health information. The digital resources presented were the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health websites, as well as the Centers for Disease Control website and the Coconino County Public Health Services District’s website (e.g. Pubmed.gov, MedlinePlus.gov, Health.gov, Nutrition.gov). One of the main tools of the trainings was the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s book, What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick. Training specifically correlating with this book was offered, as well as tools such as a first aid kit and a digital thermometer, which were used to increase understanding of emergency care versus secondary care situations, with the goal of decreasing the reliance on urgent or emergency care agencies for non-emergency injuries or illnesses.
Surveys were gathered from all participants, and the results showed overwhelmingly that participants’ knowledge of health and wellness and where/how to access resources increased markedly after attending the training sessions. Specific comments from participants expressed gratitude in learning about the free wellness clinics and voucher programs offered by the Public Health Services District. Achieving these outcomes was the goal of the training sessions, and both agencies completed the program with high levels of satisfaction.