The UIC Library of the Health Sciences (LHS) has been named a Partner Outreach Library by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Greater Midwest Region (GMR). The October 1 announcement by NNLM highlights the importance of UIC sharing health information and librarian expertise with consumers and health care providers who do not have ready access to medical research resources:
“UIC librarians, as do our other Partner Outreach Librarians, will help the GMR identify potential outreach opportunities in the state; train consumers, public librarians, unaffiliated health care providers and other Illinoisans in health information access; exhibit and promote NLM [National Library of Medicine] and NIH [National Institutes of Health] resources, as well as those of NNLM and UIC.”
“The Partner Outreach Library designation demonstrates our values as a health science library and aligns closely with UIC’s emphasis on outreach and engagement,” says Kathryn Carpenter, Associate University Librarian for the Health Sciences and Associate Dean.
The Partner Outreach Library designation follows recent efforts to reinvigorate consumer health outreach at the UIC Crawford Library of the Health Sciences – Rockford. In May 2018, LHS-Rockford Regional Health Sciences Librarian Cynthia Reynolds received an $18,279 grant from the NNLM GMR to improve access to high quality, reliable health information for the city of Rockford, Illinois and the surrounding Winnebago County community. LHS-Peoria Regional Health Sciences Librarian Carmen Howard is the project manager for the grant project.
LHS-Rockford has had a long history of outreach, educating the community about NLM resources and housing a Consumer Health Collection specifically for the community. However, recent financial uncertainty and budget reductions throughout the state of Illinois have made it impossible for the library to support the Consumer Health Collection and outreach activities at the same levels. The NNLM GMR grant reinvigorates the aging collection, the library’s presence in the community and the community’s awareness of NLM resources. Activities include teaching workshops at community sites, purchasing print and audio/visual materials, hosting “mini exhibits” that feature NLM’s online exhibits and promoting NLM resources and the library. These programs at LHS-Rockford will ultimately result in improved access to reliable health information for the public.
LHS-Peoria and LHS-Chicago have also worked with the NNLM GMR on a number of grant-funded projects, including most recently Nursing Experts: Translating the Evidence (NExT) and Rural Information Connection (RIC): a Mobile Device Project for a Student Physician Program.