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Wheel Into Health at the New Haven Free Public Library

New Haven Free Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Christopher J. Korenowsky, Executive Director, ckorenowsky@hfpl.org

Problem Statement

The mission statement of the New Haven Free Public Library reads, “we ensure the rights of citizens to have full and unlimited access to information and knowledge so that they can meet the needs of daily living“. The NHFPL recognized there was an opportunity to assist customers in becoming more knowledgeable about individual health literacy issues. The organization decided to commit staff resources to strategically raise the awareness of wellness information, examine nutrition and exercise best practices and provide access to a wide array of print and electronic health resources in all public library communities.

Innovation

Imagine a health literacy project where customers could access quality wellness information and resource guidance outside of four library walls. Enter the Covidien Partnership for Neighborhood Wellness. Using the NHFPL’s ReadMobile as an outreach resource, with the assistance of a generous Covidien grant, work began to offer customers free wellness information available at senior living facilities, early childhood education sessions and community health centers. Staff collaborated with health agencies and local professionals to schedule programs. The ReadMobile organized visits at the Fair Haven Health Clinic, its satellite location Bella Vista and the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center pediatric and dental clinics. Spanish language health materials were purchased to meet ESOL needs. The NHFPL took health information to customers as opposed to waiting for customers to seek out the library.

Progress

From 5/1/10 through 8/16/10, 2,174 customers took advantage of offerings at the health center sites the ReadMobile visited. Along with two part time positions, the NHFPL funded two wireless laptops to include in the project plan. The success of the partnership with Covidien has attracted private donors. Private donors raised an additional $5000 to support the goals of the project. The best news of all is that Covidien has agreed to fully fund a second year of this project to run from 5/1/11 through 4/30/12. With ongoing financial support, the NHFPL will continue to offer quality health and wellness information to communities throughout the city of New Haven using the ReadMobile.