Updated November 1, 2022

Libraries of all types, including public and medical libraries, are important partners in community-based health literacy efforts. Librarians advance health literacy in their communities through a variety of methods:

  • Providing Internet access and showing people how to find reliable online information
  • Conducting literature searches
  • Printing resources
  • Referring people to local health services
  • Distributing and posting information

Many libraries support basic literacy programs for children and adults.

Begin or expand your educational and community health literacy activities by collaborating with libraries.

People accessing health information at a library

Libraries provide access to current and reliable health and public health information. They also support literacy programs.

Resources for Library Professionals and Their Partners

The resources on this page can help librarians and other information professionals recognize and respond to community members’ health information and communication needs. The resources may also help other individuals and organizations identify common interests and opportunities to work with libraries.

  • Sacramento Public Library and Healthy People: Prioritizing Health Literacy to Meet Community Members’ Needs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 2022)
    Learn how the Sacramento (California) Public Library is helping to build the health literacy skills of people in its community.
  • Digital Health Literacy Curriculum (Network of the National Library of Medicine, All of Us, Public Library Association, and Wisconsin Health Literacy)
    This free, downloadable digital health literacy curriculum includes a slide deck, accompanying script, and handouts you can use to help people gain the skills needed to access and evaluate online health information. Other digital health literacy resources are also available.
  • How Does NNLM Support Health Literacy? (Network of the National Library of Medicine 2021)
    The Network of the National Library of Medicine provides health literacy training, resources, and funding. Find all of that and more, including videos showing some of their funded health literacy initiatives in action.
  • Information for Trainers and Librarians (MedlinePlus)
    This site provides training resources you can use to teach people how to use MedlinePlus to find high-quality health and wellness information.
  • Find an Adult Literacy Program (ProLiteracy)
    Literacy and health literacy are not the same, but they are related. Use the web directories or the phone referral line to find local adult basic education and literacy programs for the people you serve.