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Lack of access to reliable health information contributes to pervasive racial and ethnic health disparities. Public library resources and programs are one way for communities to gain access to health information. Our previous research found that individuals from diverse communities are unaware of library services and/or do not feel welcome in their local libraries, resulting in underuse. Consequently, there is a need for libraries to learn and implement methods that successfully connect them to diverse communities in order to increase equity in access and use of health information resources. We developed a multi-stakeholder partnership consisting of two public library systems, leaders from five diverse communities, and a research university to fill this gap. Our goal was to implement an intervention that increases the capacity of libraries to meet the health information needs of diverse communities, subsequently increasing awareness and use. Our intervention depended on the hiring of Community Wellness Liaisons (CWLs) as library employees who served as cultural brokers. As members of communities they represented, CWLs were responsible for organizing programs and putting together library materials that met the informational, social, and cultural needs of their communities. Additionally, CWLs brought library and health resources into their communities during outreach events. This webinar will discuss the CWL model as a way to convey health information to medically underrepresented communities. Attendees will hear about the collaboration between CWLs, community leaders, library supervisors, and university staff; the CWLs’ activities, including COVID-19 programming and outreach; ways the CWLs adapted their work during the pandemic; recommendations for effectively engaging with diverse communities, including potential barriers to anticipate and ways to overcome them; and overall project accomplishments.
Heather Brown, M.Ed.
Rochelle C. Cassells, Ph.D.
Louisa A. Stark, Ph.D.
- Describe an innovative way to provide accessible, reliable and culturally appropriate health information to diverse communities
- Share best practices for implementing and sustaining community-library-university partnerships
- Discuss the application and suitability of the Community Wellness Liaison model in other contexts
This webinar has been approved for 1 MLA CE credit and is eligible for Level 1 CHIS credit: C1 & C2.