Public Libraries Promoting Health Information Literacy Health Essay

September 17, 2017 Health

One of the greatest challenges that a bibliothec will of all time confront in the class of his full profession is neither to supply the information needed nor do available the resources but instead, it is on how bibliothecs will do its users exhaustively understand the information being introduced.

Literacy is the“ usage of printed and written information to map in society, to accomplish one ‘s ends, and to develop one ‘s cognition and potency ”( National Center for Education Studies, n.d ) . Health information literacy, on the other manus, is defined as“ the set of abilities needed to: acknowledge a wellness information need ; place likely information beginnings and utilize them to recover relevant information ; assess the quality of the information and it ‘s pertinence to a specific state of affairs ; and analyse, understand and utilize the information to do good wellness determinations ”( MLA Net, 2003 ) . In whatever manner or context it may be defined, wellness literacy has become unachievable due to many factors that deter comprehension, such as cultural differences and medical slangs. Having known all of these factors, bibliothecs are now being challenged with a new function as wellness information propagator as good.

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Cultural differences

Each state has its ain diverse cultural backgrounds. Some of these were passed on coevals to coevals by their ascendants and some were introduced to them by agencies of colonialism.

During the pre-colonial period, our ascendants were known to be heathens, idolizing Gods and goddesses, they used to believe in superstitious notions that they thought could impact they daily populating ; utilizing different sorts of rites and unusual methods to bring around diseases.

“ Before the reaching of the Spaniards, patients diagnosed with leprosy were placed in a hole made resistance. The patient must remain in the hole for a twosome of old ages for our ascendants believed that the heat and wet of the land were agents to bring around the disease ” ( Mercado, 1915 )

In the American and Spanish business, new medical patterns were introduced which besides gave manner to medical malpractices and rise of religion therapists. Nowadays, some of these patterns no longer be, in malice of that, confusion arises.

Medical Slangs

Patients rely on their physicians to leave to them necessary information sing their disease ; giving them inside informations on how to forestall and avoid hazards ; pupils, workers, community or laypersons depend on school, professors, media and colleagues to supply them wellness information. While all of these professionals perform their responsibilities of informing people, there are still some cases wherein people are unfamiliar of such footings or medical slangs, there are besides some instances wherein media fails to supply information apt for its viewing audiences. Once a individual has been told that they have a serious wellness job like encephalon tumour, malignant neoplastic disease, or multiple induration or a upset with a name that is new to them, like chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy or syringimyelia, it is really hard to hear anything else ( Burnham & A ; Peterson, 2005 ) , they become more likely inclined to bury to inquire follow-up inquiries on their disease ; pupils who encountered medical footings might inquire person who is non at all expert on the said field. Regardless of one ‘s educational degree, wellness illiteracy caused by slangs remains one of the major jobs.

Role of Public Libraries and Librarians

Public libraries exist to function the information demands of all members of the community. Their user varies from kids, pupils, juveniles, households, grownups and even immigrants. Each of them, with different information demands, additions free entree to the library services and aggregation. As a public bureau, the public library is authorized by the province jurisprudence, supported from general public financess or from particular revenue enhancements voted for the intent ; administered for the benefit of the citizens of the metropolis, town, or part which maintains it on the footing of equal entree ( Gates, 1976 ) .


In comparing with the other three major libraries: academic, school and particular libraries who have their ain particular and definite set of users ; public libraries, on the other side, function a varied group of users of which each demand varies every bit good. With this status, public libraries maintain a huge aggregation of print and non-print stuffs. Harmonizing to Gates ( 1976 ) aggregation of stuffs should include books, periodicals, booklets, newspapers, images, slides, movies, music shops, maps, phonograph record and tape recordings, the assorted microforms and archival stuffs which relate to the local community.


Along with its huge aggregation, public libraries are expected to run into the demands and involvements of its community members. Offer its resources and services to possible users. Gates ( 1976 ) mentioned some of the common services offered by the public library viz. : organizing stuffs for easiness of entree and convenient usage through cataloguing, categorization and shelf agreement ; loaning processs that make possible the usage of stuffs in the clip and topographic point suited to each person ; counsel to the user in happening the stuffs he needs and in the usage of library resources. Apart from these common services, the library besides caters to the specific demands of users of different ages ; for kids they provide storytelling, trades, marionette shows and illustrated books ; for adolescents and pupils, library offers resources that will develop their educational and recreational involvements ; a subdivision for periodicals, diaries, talks on current consciousness and bookmobiles are some of the services dedicated for grownups and community members.


The public library seeks non to implement the one thought upon the many, but to open to each single user the countless wealth of rational resources from which he can function non another ‘s terminals, but his ain ( Wheeler & A ; Goldhor, 1962 ) . Aside from being service-oriented, bibliothecs are user-oriented as good ; their responsibility is to supply the best possible information that will fulfill their users.


Hospital libraries and medical libraries are typically the establishments wherein users can entree resources associating on wellness issues. These two establishments are wholly devoted in geting up-to-date resources for their aggregation such as periodicals, diaries, encyclopedias and other volumes. Not merely do these establishments maintain such aggregation but they besides welcome the coming of modern engineering and the development it may convey in assisting them provide better services. The operation and map of these libraries are dependent on the specific demand of its clients specifically physicians, nurses, pupils in the field of wellness and other medical professionals. Inasmuch as infirmary and medical libraries desire to run into the demands of all sorts of users, still, their aggregation sets the bound: that a batch of their stuffs are can merely be understood by physicians and other medical professionals.

With this restriction, a new user demand arises. Public libraries are now faced with a new challenge on how they will run into the wellness information demands of their users and promote wellness consciousness for community members. Unlike physicians and other medical professionals, most of public library ‘s users are laic people, some of which are incapable of spoting medical and complicated footings. Yet, one of the biggest duties of public library is to extinguish ignorance and to be a dependable beginning of information and are expected to transport out their function as a wellness information propagator.

II. Statement of the Problem

This survey shall reply the undermentioned inquiries:

  • How public libraries perceive their function as wellness information propagator?
  • How public libraries address the jobs in wellness information literacy?
  • What are the plans and schemes used in advancing wellness information literacy?

III. Objective of the Study

This survey aims:

  • To measure the function of public libraries in advancing wellness information literacy.
  • To develop plans that will help bibliothecs in advancing wellness information literacy, and ;
  • To supply consequences and recommendations that could assist heighten and develop the services offered by the library in footings of advancing wellness consciousness in a community.

IV. Significance of the survey

This survey shall lend in the betterment of services offered by public libraries in their users and community. It will assist public libraries become cognizant of the lifting wellness information demands of its community members and will assist understand and plan a aggregation that is well-suited for its readers.

This survey will besides function as a footing for public libraries in footings of measuring themselves: the accomplishments, cognition and professionalism of its staff in advancing wellness information literacy in their community.

V. Scope and Restrictions

The rubric of this survey isAppraisal of function of public libraries in advancing wellness information literacy.The term ‘role ‘ encompasses the accomplishments, cognition of public librarians and the services the library offers in advancing wellness information literacy. This survey besides includes the different sorts of plans and schemes used by public libraries and other techniques that could better their services.

The respondents of this survey will be limited merely to bibliothecs ( licenced, unaccredited or has any background in Library and Information Science ) , functioning in a public library.


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