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Public Library Spotlight: Angela Meyers, Coordinator of Youth and Special Needs Services, Bridges Library System

Posted by on July 5th, 2017 Posted in: Public Libraries Spotlight
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The first in our new Public Library Spotlight series!

Angela meyers

Name: Angela Meyers

Title: Coordinator of Youth and Special Needs Services, Bridges Library System


  • Master of Library & Information Science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Information Studies (2008).
  • Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee College of Letters and Science. Major: Sociology, Minor: Communications (2002).

How did you become interested in focusing on Health and Wellness?: My professional interest in health and wellness began when I worked at Mental Health America of Wisconsin after I received my bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UW-Milwaukee. As a part of the information and assistance team, I answered phone calls from individuals looking for services like support groups, individual therapy, or advocacy. Looking back, I realize this was the primer to my career today, helping others find the resources they need to be successful.

Why is health literacy important in your community?: Health literacy is important to public libraries because people focus so much of our time on family and work that they often forget about nourishing their own minds and bodies. Oftentimes, people find themselves seeking health-related information once they have received a diagnosis or find themselves in the position of being a caregiver to someone with a health concern. Public libraries try to be proactive as well, not just reactive, like offering programs such as a walking club or memory screenings, as well as having robust collections. When the community needs information, programs, or services related to health literacy, they can rest assured that the public library has them covered.

What’s different with a health reference interview?: The difference with a health reference interview is that you could be helping someone who recently received some very distressing news. A few things to consider:

  • Provide a welcoming, neutral environment so that the individual feels comfortable asking for information.
  • The person may already have scoured the Internet and is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information related to their search. Do your best to provide relevant, timely information but be aware of information overload.
  • Be a good listener but do not offer your own experiences or advice.

What’s the impact that you hope to make in your community?: Part of my position is acting as the coordinator for the Library Memory Project, which is a collaboration among libraries in our area to offer memory cafes on a rotating basis. Memory cafes are social engagement opportunities for those who are experiencing early stage dementia, memory loss or cognitive impairment, and their care partners. The libraries also strive to offer educational programs for the public on brain health and wellness. The impact I hope to make in my community is for individuals to know that the library is a safe, judgment-free zone to visit even after receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. We have always been here and will continue to be here for individuals in our community regardless of what life throws their way.

Angela will be providing a one-hour webinar for us on Memory Cafes and Libraries Aug 22, 10:00AM – 11:00AM CT, sign up today!



Image of the author ABOUT Bobbi Newman
Bobbi Newman (MLIS, MA) is the Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist for NNLM R6 at the University of Iowa. She is the author of Fostering Wellness in the Workplace: A Guide for Libraries. She developed the popular NNLM course “Wellness in the Library Workplace.” Bobbi is a mindfulness student and a member of Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). She currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for Let’s Move in Libraries. She divides her time between her dog, reading fantasy and nonfiction, playing video games, crafting, kayaking, biking, and gardening.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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