Conference or Event

Midcontinental Chapter of the Medical Library Association Conference

Document Type

Conference or Event




OBJECTIVE: McGoogan Health Sciences Library received a subaward from the Network of the National Library of Medicine to provide consumer health information trainings to public library staff in Nebraska. The aim of this project was to assess the health information needs of library patrons and staff to determine the type of trainings that would be most relevant.

METHODS: An online survey was developed based on a similar survey conducted by the Delaware Health and Social Service Library. The survey was distributed by email to library directors and through the Nebraska Library Commission listserv. The survey period was open July 14 – August 7, 2020.

RESULTS: The survey received 68 responses from public library staff. Most worked in management (60%) and circulation (35%). The major community health issues included COVID-19, aging, cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and nutrition. Less than half (41%) reported hosting health programming within the last two years. Most staff reported that they did not receive many health questions from patrons, with 65% receiving one to five questions weekly, and 26% not receiving any. The top three training needs for staff were identifying health resources, developing community partnerships, and evaluating health resources. Webinar recordings were the most preferred training method.

CONCLUSION: Most public libraries in Nebraska receive few health questions, and aren’t hosting many health programs. There are opportunities to provide training to increase library staff expertise in resources to address COVID-19, aging, and chronic disease. Staff are also interested in community partnerships which may help increase programming.