by Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian; Sheryl Ing, Project Librarian, and
Susan Nakata, Manager of Library Development Services
Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS)
The Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) conducted a literacy project on Oahu to benefit immigrant Micronesian families by encouraging reading, library use, and healthy resources from January 23 through April 20, 2017. For this effort, HSPLS partnered with Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children’s Pediatric Clinic, and received an outreach subaward from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region. Patients and their families who visited the clinic were invited to get a library card and go to their local branch to receive a free book. From January through April, the clinic issued 331 library cards. Roughly 50-70% of the clinic’s patients are immigrant Micronesians. New children and teen card holders visited the Kalihi-Palama, Liliha, Salt Lake-Moanalua and Waikiki-Kapahulu Public Libraries and were given free books on health, nutrition and exercise. The Micronesian patrons were excited to receive their free books. Some of them also borrowed library books and other materials.
The outreach funding also provided libraries with opportunities to host health resources orientation sessions for patrons. Kalihi-Palama and Waipahu Public Libraries hosted the workshops in February and March with a combined audience total of 29 attendees. The patrons were introduced to the diverse and authoritative NLM health resources and databases such as MedlinePlus, Pillbox and NIHSeniorHealth. We also created frequently asked topic health bookmarks highlighting related health resources that were given to the attendees.
The patrons shared that the health resources workshops were:
We had rich interactions with Micronesian families by meeting them in their community. During an outreach visit hosted by Linapuni Elementary School’s Parent Community Networking Center and partnering with A Teacher’s Heart, we met with 22 Micronesian children and 13 parents in attendance. The children and their parents were curious and attentive while listening to stories, creating crafts, book swapping and learning about the library’s programs, services and health resources.
We are heartened by the promising successes in this pilot project. While this funding ended in April, we are looking into ways to continue partnering with the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children’s Pediatric Clinic to encourage reading and awareness of the Health Resources our libraries offer. Two more health orientation sessions are being planned at Pearl City Public Library and Linapuni Elementary School’s Parent Club Meeting this Fall. Future outreach events at schools, churches and community centers supporting Micronesian families will be planned in order to continue efforts to encourage reading, library use and accessibility to health resources.