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.
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.
- Health Information for Immigrants, Refugees and Migrants
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2021)
This communication toolkit helps libraries and other community organizations provide prevention and safety messages to populations, including refugees, who may need messaging in their native languages.
- Bringing Public Health and Public Libraries Together: Collaboration Toolkit (Midwestern Public Health Training Center 2021)
This resource, full of tools and tips on developing collaborations between libraries and public health organizations, also includes examples of successful collaborations.
- Health Information in Multiple Languages (MedlinePlus 2021)
Browse health information in multiple languages, arranged by health topic. You can also browse this information by language.
- Health Literacy Studies (Harvard School of Public Health 2019)
Explore this site for health literacy research findings, policy reports, tools for translating research into action, and resources on integrating health literacy into your work.
- 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.