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Health Literacy: Health Literacy in Libraries

Information and resources for librarians on Health Literacy topics.

What is Health Literacy?

Health Literacy: the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions ( People apply these health literacy skills either to make sense of health information and services or to provide health information and services to others.

Health Literacy Resources

Health Happens in Libraries

The Institute for Museum and Library Services is partnering with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help librarians support the public in accessing the Health Insurance Marketplace. Librarians play a vital role in bridging the digital divide. WebJunction, through a cooperative agreement with IMLS, and the Zero Divide Partnership will be engaging with the state libraries and public libraries to increase the capacity of librarians to help the public with the Affordable Care Act and requests for health information and assistance. Libraries can decide locally how to help. Librarians and the public are encouraged to sign up for Marketplace emails and alerts on Over the past year, WebJunction’s Health Happens in Libraries initiative has hosted many informative webinars to help libraries support the implementation of the ACA.


Does your patron have a question about a personal health or medical concern? Contact Healthnet at 860-679-4055 (Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm) or by e-mail at

Healthnet also provides guides for consumers and librarians.

Healthnet is the Connecticut Consumer Health Information Network located at the UCONN Health Center in Farmington, CT.

Evaluating Online Health Information

Health and Medical Reference Guidelines

In June 2015, the Reference and User Services Association released revised Heath and Medical Reference Guidelines, the purpose of which is to assist information services staff in responding to health or medical inquiries. The guidelines describe the role of library staff, recommended professional behavior, and ethics, and link to additional guidelines from other professional associations.

Grants for Health Literacy

National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region offers funding to improve access to health information.

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