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Health and Medical Help Online Series

Springfield (MA) City Library
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Innovation Leader: Matthew Jaquith, Librarian, MJaquith@SpringfieldLibrary.org

Problem Statement

With the vast array of websites, blogs, and other resources on the Internet, it is difficult for people to understand which health-related information is reliable and which is incorrect or misleading. As economic woes continue, more and more people are turning to the Web instead of their health care professionals to get their medical information and advice. Clearly this can be a dangerous prospect, and people need to know what sources to trust and what to avoid.

Innovation

The library partnered with Margot Malachowski, Outreach Librarian at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, to offer workshops in the library’s computer lab. Each workshop dealt with a specific condition or illness including Depression and Metal Health, Diabetes, Healthy Weight, Heart Health, and Autism. Other workshops include Cancer Screenings, Vitamins & Supplements, Probiotics, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Progress

These well-attended workshops have earned praise from attendees and have attracted citizens from throughout the City. Feedback forms include such compliments as “excellent presentation and great hands on support,” “good workshop” and “a wonderful class,” which is underscored by very positive verbal feedback staff has received. The Springfield City Library (SCL) has augmented its commitment to user-based evaluation, and the forms for this series reveal excellent program outcomes. A full 100% of participants responded that they agree or strongly agree with the statement that “I know more about how to use the MedlinePlus website,” which is a stated goal of each of these workshops.