Posted by Darlene Kaskie on June 25th, 2018
Posted in: Blog, Consumer Health, Funding, News from the Region, Outreach, Public Libraries, Success Stories
Tags: public libraries and health, Success Stories
Jamie Paicely, Director of Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library in Steger, Illinois, received funding for Women’s Health Wednesdays, a series of one-hour community health sessions for women.
Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library is located in a racially diverse community: 45% White, 25% Black or African American, and 25% Hispanic or Latino. “Our library users tend to be mostly black and Hispanic.” The community also is low-income. “Our school district is 76.82% free or reduced lunch students.” Jamie wants to increase her patrons’ understanding of quality health information resources so they can make better informed health care decisions. “There is a lot of inaccurate and out dated information on the Internet, and we strive to provide up-to-date and accurate information to our patrons,” Jamie wrote in her project application.
Partnering with two community health organizations, the public library will host nine one-hour women’s health sessions for both younger and older adults: heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, autoimmune disease, and diabetes. Franciscan Health will teach fitness and nutrition as part of their Healthy Choices program, and Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness, a federally qualified health clinic, will emphasize the importance of medical care, dental care, mental health care and addictions treatment services. The entire health education series is about wellness and prevention. Not only is the general information important, “[participants] also need to know that they can go to Aunt Martha’s, even with no insurance, and get the help they need to stay healthy.”
At the end of each session, Jamie will demonstrate MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine consumer health database. “I will show them how to search the topic of that day’s lesson… I want to also encourage them to use this platform to seek out information on other topics that may not be covered by our classes.”
The library has the capacity to host up to 60 people per session. “In the past we have had about 10 people who steadily attend our health and informational programs… We also see a number of mothers who are stay-at-home mothers who come into the library during school hours and visit or use the computers.” The library director intends to grow this number with targeted advertising and a gift incentive for attending seven or more sessions.
Participants will complete a pre and post survey for each class. “We plan to use NNLM’s ‘Process Evaluation Blank Worksheet’ after each session so we can identify issues that may need to be addressed before the next session. We want to do this each time so that we can make sure that we are learning and growing just as we hope the participants are.” Jamie’s overall objective is for participants to retain, find, and apply health information. “We want to educate them to take ownership and keep following up with themselves to be accountable for what they learned.” We want the same thing, too. Good luck, Jamie, and we look forward to your accomplishments.