Health Reference: The Basics in Less Than 60 Minutes

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Health Reference: The Basics in Less Than 60 Minutes

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Coronavirus pandemic. Opioid crisis. I have just been told I have diabetes, what can I eat? Is that new treatment I just saw on Facebook safe? I am new in town, can you recommend a doctor? Finding quality and accurate health information is not always an easy process. People often need assistance in locating appropriate resources to answer information requests. Studies show that most Americans view libraries as important parts of their communities, with a majority reporting that libraries have the resources they need and play at least some role in helping them decide what information they can trust. This session will cover the basics of providing health reference, from understanding the challenges of providing health reference, conducting an effective health reference interview that includes communication strategies to identify the health information needs of patrons, what are the ethical guidelines for protecting patrons' privacy and confidentiality and simple methods for evaluating online health information that can be easily explained to patrons. And to wrap up, where to find additional sources of health reference training.


50 minute presentation at the 2020 Minnesota Library Association Annual meeting.

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Chew, Katherine V. (2020). Health Reference: The Basics in Less Than 60 Minutes. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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