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Resources for Public Libraries

Consumer Health


Providing reliable consumer health information is an important, yet still emerging, task for public libraries. According to the Public Library Association (PLA), less than 2% of public librarians have received education in health information. Research also shows that 80% adults have searched for health information online, but less than 25% verify the date or source of that information. Additionally, PLA posits that consumers are deluged by information from both high- and low-quality sources and that nearly 90% of adults have difficulty understanding the health information they encounter on a daily basis. There is therefore a clear demand for high-quality health information and a demonstrated need for public libraries to provide health information reference and resources to their patrons. 

This guide is adapted from Health InfoNet's "Recommended Core List of Books and Journals for Alabama Public Libraries" and is intended to assist public librarians develop consumer health reference collections. The guide is divided by subject but also includes a list of materials considered essential for basic health collections. The total cost of materials for basic health collections is $400 or less. Materials may be referenced in multiple sections (e.g. "Essential Collection" and "Dictionaries, Encyclopedia") to ensure comprehensiveness. Price information is given whenever possible. Books available at APLS are listed as such.

Users of this guide are encouraged to make suggestions for additions and changes by contacting APLS' reference team using the contact form located here or by using the contact information in the sidebar on this LibGuide's Home tab.