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Public Library Spotlight: Danielle Henson, Community Engagement Liaison, Gail Borden Public Library

Posted by on November 28th, 2017 Posted in: Public Libraries, Public Libraries Spotlight
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photo of walking club, 10 people in active wear

Photo from the Walking Book Club*
Danielle Hensen is the fourth person from the right.

Name: Danielle Henson

Title: Community Engagement Liaison

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

Gail Borden Public Library sits at many tables in the district including Kane County Health Department Executive and KCHD sub-committees and Activate Elgin (Erin Donlan, Information Services Librarian is on the Executive Committee and the Income and Education sub-committee and I am at the Activate Elgin Coalition and Kane County Health Department Community Health Council tables).  A.E. is a coalition of health and fitness organizations engaging all sectors in the community to provide free healthy lifestyle and wellness education to build a healthy Elgin. Literacy plays an important role to access and understand health information. We see these health and education initiatives as a natural fit for us as we support literacy and overall community vibrancy.

Why is health literacy important in your community?

A healthy and informed community creates a vital and engaged citizenry. Encouraging recreation, nutrition, and general wellness can activate and energize a community to build a healthy future in all areas of life.

What’s different with a health reference interview?

As a community engagement liaison and program planner, I refer all reference questions to Information Services Librarians. We are fortunate to have Erin Donlan, Information Services Librarian, who has completed the Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) credential program through the Medical Library Association certification in 2017 and is currently assisting community members with health reference interviews. Her certification is invaluable for staff as we build balanced and informed health programming and add health literacy content to our community engagement work.

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

We hope to continue to provide health and wellness programming for all ages and communities in Elgin by experts in our community in their area of practice. Our strong partnerships across the wellness spectrum offer physical fitness events, health education, nutrition programs and stress reduction presentations that ensure the community has a wide range of free programming that enriches their lives.

What is your favorite health-related program or outreach that you’ve done? 

Gail Borden Public Library hosts the annual March into Health Kick-off in early March: National Nutrition Month. We present 25-30 partner and sponsor tables in our lobby, live fruit jugglers, healthy food demos and tastings, prizes and live (and lively) family entertainment. The M.I.H. kick-off event attracts 3-600 community members and encourages families to get up and moving. The Kick-off event brings the community and 25 health resources together. It initiates the month-long free Activate Elgin March into Health programming for all ages at the library and around town at partner and sponsor locations. 20-30 events throughout March are attended by 2-3,500 people annually and are incentivized by prize entries at each event into the grand prize drawing of a ‘bike of the year’, digital fitness device, fitness and golf packages, family fun packages for the local trampoline park or waterpark, or gift certificate for healthy meals around town. Making fitness and nutrition fun has engaged our district to come out of hibernation each winter and get moving for spring.

* Read more about the Walking Book Club

Register for 1/17/2018 webinar “Public Libraries and Community Partners for Wellness Literacy

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.

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