[Skip to Content]
Visit us on Facebook Visit us on FacebookVisit us on Twitter Visit us on TwitterVisit our RSS Feed View our RSS Feed
Midwest Matters October 24th, 2021
CategoriesCategoriesCategories Contact UsContact Us ArchivesArchives Region/OfficeRegion/Office SearchSearch



Date prong graphic

Public Libraries Spotlight: Susan K. McClelland, Health & Wellness Librarian, Oak Park Public Library, IL

Posted by on September 19th, 2017 Posted in: Public Libraries, Public Libraries Spotlight
Tags: ,

20170904_163239Name: Susan K. McClelland

Title: Health & Wellness Librarian, Oak Park Public Library

Education: BA, Art History, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; MLIS, University of Illinois, GSLIS.

How did you become interested in focusing on Health and Wellness?

For a number of years I was a library associate at the American Hospital Association headquarters library in Chicago, IL and later as a medical indexer for publications at the American Medical Association library in Chicago, I became familiar with a host of medical specialties, specialty board certification rigors and consumer health organizations. I was fascinated by the scope of medical specialty training, its impact on consumer health issues, and I found the medical subject classification system intriguing, indeed.

Why is health literacy important in your community?

In Oak Park, we serve a diverse population of seniors, young families, students and a growing number of shelter and nursing house residents. The demand for reliable and accessible consumer health information is high, and I think the library does a very good job of partnering with several social service agencies to provide our neighbors with workshops, onsite pop-up clinics, health lectures, and access to health resources databases and journals.

What’s different with a health reference interview?

Lots of times we’ll get patrons asking for detailed health info or even medical advice. While the library can’t diagnose illnesses or dispense medical advice, in each instance, we try to discern the nature of the information needed, and then provide accurate resources for the patron. So, in most cases, the health reference interview process is the same as a reference interview, while the outcome might be a referral to a health care organization, to a medical journal article or a book.

What’s the impact that you hope to make in your community?

I hope the library’s health and wellness programming informs patrons, demystifies complicated medical subjects, like the Affordable Health Care Act, Medicare subsidies or Alzheimer’s care options and provides a discreet and concise health information option. Our patrons should feel confident that their family’s health & wellness is an important part of the city’s mandate and central to the library’s mission to turn outward to the community.

Image of the author ABOUT Bobbi Newman
Bobbi's professional background includes work in public libraries. She currently serves as a member of the Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) American Library Association (ALA) Advisory Committee. In the past, she has served as an ALA-Councilor-At-Large and on a variety ALA committees. In 2011 she was named a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. She divides her time between her dog, reading fantasy and nonfiction, playing video games, and gardening.

Email author View all posts by

Archived Content

Subscribe to our blog

Blog Categories

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.

NNLM and NETWORK OF THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE are service marks of the US Department of Health and Human Services | Copyright | Download PDF Reader