The Public Library Association (PLA) has expanded its partnership with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), a program of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). In 2017, the two organizations launched Promoting Healthy Communities, a nine-month project to assess health information needs among public librarians and share free health literacy resources. The goal of Promoting Healthy Communities is to increase public library workers’ knowledge and skills related to consumer health services.
Starting this month, PLA and NNLM will team up to raise awareness of the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program, a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the U.S., to accelerate research and improve health. By taking into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology, researchers will uncover paths toward delivering precision medicine. This new effort will be a cornerstone of the All of Us and NLM partnership.
At the heart of All of Us is a drive to address inequity in the health care system, which compelled the PLA Board of Directors to approve a formal partnership in late 2018. This work aligns with the recent addition of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice as a goal in PLA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. Public libraries can help improve health outcomes for all populations within their community, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research and medical advancements, through health outreach, programming, and partnership.
Over the next 15 months, PLA and NNLM will work together to support public libraries to increase health literacy, address health research inequities, and strengthen community partnerships with health advocates and providers. The partnership will support community engagement around All of Us by elevating the role of public libraries in locating reliable health information and creating connections through library spaces and technology.
Through the partnership with PLA, NNLM will be able to advance its goal of supporting public libraries in meeting the health information needs of their communities by providing: