Newswise — CHICAGO, IL, May 18, 2018 — One hundred fifty public librarians from across the nation will convene at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia on May 22 and 23, 2018 to attend a timely, educational symposium on effectively providing consumer health information, during the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA). The Symposium: Health Information for Public Librarians, is organized by MLA, in collaboration with the Public Library Association (PLA), the Greater Midwest Region (GMR) of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), and members of the MLA Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS), and runs from 7:00 AM on Tuesday, May 22 to Noon on Wednesday, May 23. Public librarian attendance is supported by federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under grant number 1UG4LM012346-01 with the University of Iowa.

Organizers and participants of this symposium understand that consumers today remain in need of reliable, convenient health information from a trusted resource to supplement their condensed doctor visits and gain a clearer understanding of complicated health conditions, medical concepts, and preventative treatment options. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is among several organizations within the last five years to further investigate the ongoing challenge of providing quality consumer health information in public libraries. Their findings concluded that libraries are important health information providers; literature on health is written for a level above those who use it; and experienced librarians provide valuable lessons. 

With increasing consumer needs and required skillsets for librarians in mind, the symposium is designed to support public librarians and health science librarians meet the needs of providing quality health information services to the public. The top two challenges faced by public librarians when providing consumer health information service are difficulty in interpreting patrons' questions and access to information about available and trusted health information sources.

Among several key learning objectives, symposium participants will develop plans for increasing institutional impact on consumer health literacy—defined by the Institute of Medicine as, “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” They will understand how advancements in precision medicine affect the need for consumer health information through the All of Us Research Program and appreciate the process of mastering the knowledge and competencies to deliver consumer health information in public libraries more effectively and efficiently.

Presenters will share national strategies and trends in the areas of health disparities, social determinants of health, disease control, and prevention. And participants will gain a deeper understanding of their critical role in providing the public with health information, honing their consumer health information skills, and strengthening their institution’s ability to deliver quality health information services, while generating an optimal patron experience.

For additional information about the Symposium: Health Information for Public Librarians and MLA’18, visit and download the MLA’18 app:’18. 


About MLA

The Medical Library Association (MLA) is a global, nonprofit educational organization, with a membership of more than 400 institutions and 3,000 professionals in the health information field. Since 1898, MLA has fostered excellence in the professional practice and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance health care, education, and research throughout the world. MLA educates health information professionals, supports health information research, promotes access to the world's health sciences information, and works to ensure that the best health information is available to all. For more information about MLA, visit


Meeting Link: MLA’18, May 22 and 23, 2018 Grant No Link: 1UG4LM012346-01