In a recent interview with Public Libraries, Mary Grace Flaherty, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), discusses some of the findings and recommendations she shares in her book Promoting Individual and Community Health at the Library (ALA Editions 2018). Flaherty talks about the many ways that public libraries can assist patrons who want to improve their health or become more knowledgeable about medical conditions.
“While we’re not doctors, we are information providers,” Flaherty says. “Our patrons are looking for health information and visit libraries in search of reliable and authoritative resources. While we can’t provide medical advice, we can easily steer folks to no-cost, credible consumer health resources.”
In the Public Libraries’ Q&A, Flaherty suggests collaborations that could advance these efforts.
“What I envision is public libraries partnering with health departments or local schools, universities, colleges and state library agencies, to come up with ways to instigate, assess, monitor, and evaluate public library efforts and their effectiveness,” Flaherty says. “Now more than ever before, libraries aren’t just about books, they’re about serving communities.”
Click here to read the full interview (ProQuest access required).
Flaherty’s book had previously received positive reviews in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science and Medical Reference Services Quarterly, which highly recommends the book for “all academic, hospital, and public libraries that field health-related information requests and inquiries.”