Outreach to community organizations: the next consumer health frontier*†


Medical Library Association


Outreach by health sciences librarians to various constituencies helps ensure that the information needs of these groups are adequately met. In the past, librarians have extended outreach to isolated rural health care providers, urban clinicians not affiliated with libraries, and consumers. One logical next step in outreach efforts is to partner with existing community groups who seek to improve the health of residents concerning such areas as lead contamination and rising asthma rates. This article describes a National Network of Libraries of Medicine–funded project, where librarians worked with a group of grass roots community organizations, schools, and clinics. Knowledge gained from past outreach projects was applied with mixed success because of the unique nature of community groups where many unanticipated issues arose. Lessons learned while extending outreach library services to community groups are described.

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