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In this closing chapter, the authors first draw on the contributed chapters in this volume to highlight some of the many ways in which libraries and librarians are moving…
In this closing chapter, the authors first draw on the contributed chapters in this volume to highlight some of the many ways in which libraries and librarians are moving us closer to health justice by working with their communities to increase consumer health literacy and to decrease health disparities. The authors then focus our attention on the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing the fact that disadvantaged populations are bearing the brunt of the negative impacts of this situation and the many existing and novel roles that libraries and librarians are playing to help to fight consumer health information injustice and to contribute toward better health outcomes for all. Next, Dr Beth Barnett brings her viewpoint as a Board Certified Patient Advocate to the volume, pointing out parallels between the roles of librarians and those of patient advocates, as well as important lessons for patient advocates gleaned from the volume. To conclude the chapter, the authors reiterate our aims for the volume and issue a call to the reader to join libraries and librarians in their important role as agents of health information justice.
This chapter introduces the focus of this volume – the many ways in which libraries and librarians are helping to increase people’s health literacy and reduce health…
This chapter introduces the focus of this volume – the many ways in which libraries and librarians are helping to increase people’s health literacy and reduce health disparities in their communities. The rampant and rapidly increasing health injustices that occur every day throughout the world are, in large part, caused and exacerbated by health information injustice – something which libraries and librarians are playing an instrumental role in addressing by ensuring the physical and intellectual accessibility of information for all. This chapter opens with an introduction to the central concepts of health justice and health information injustice, focusing on the many information-related factors that shape the degree to which individuals have the information they need to be able to have a sufficient and truly equitable chance to live a long and healthy life. Next, the authors present a timely case study to emphasize the importance of health information justice, looking at the dire importance of health literacy as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors then provide a brief glimpse into their 13 contributed chapters, grouped into five categories: (1) Public Libraries/Healthy Communities; (2) Health Information Assessment; (3) Overcoming Barriers to Health Information Access; (4) Serving Disadvantaged Populations; and (5) Health Information as a Communal Asset. In conclusion, the authors discuss their aims for this volume, particularly that readers will become more aware of librarians’ efforts to address health disparities in their communities and excited about participating in and expanding these efforts, moving us closer to health justice.
This chapter traces the history of diversity and inclusion efforts at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland as an example of an institution that…
This chapter traces the history of diversity and inclusion efforts at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland as an example of an institution that has made diversity and inclusion central to its activities.
By exploring the successes and failures of a program that identifies itself as activist in terms of diversity and inclusion, this chapter offers a portrait of the evolution of cutting edge diversity and inclusion efforts in the field.
Widespread changes to the diversity and inclusiveness of library and information science education, professions, and institutions depend on all parts of the field committing to these issues, sharing ideas and best practices, and becoming activists for equity.
This study investigates the intersections of health and social justice topics in the library and information science (LIS) curriculum. Course offerings from 60 American…
This study investigates the intersections of health and social justice topics in the library and information science (LIS) curriculum. Course offerings from 60 American Library Association-Accredited LIS programs were extracted and comprised the study sample. Using a thematic content analysis, a total of 220 course descriptions were analyzed to assess the inclusion of health justice topics. A main finding was that only eight LIS course descriptions closely integrated health and social justice issues. In addition, four overarching thematic areas of LIS courses were identified from the dataset as conceptual pathways with the potential to further incorporate health justice aspects in LIS coursework. Recommendations for how to expand course offerings in these areas are explored. Overall, these preliminary findings help to map the existing health and social justice curricula and contribute the LIS educator viewpoint for both reducing health disparities and advancing health justice conversations.
American sex education is continually under fire due to conflicting morals surrounding hegemonic sociocultural norms. These programs, and ultimately the students, are…
American sex education is continually under fire due to conflicting morals surrounding hegemonic sociocultural norms. These programs, and ultimately the students, are often victims of information inequities which leverage adult control over minors to prevent access to sexual health information. Withholding salient sexual health information infringes on intertwined tenets of human rights, such as education and information access. Spurred by recent disputes and barriers to updating unethical curricula in the states of Arizona and Texas, this chapter uses a human rights lens to explore the current information inequities in K-12 sexual education and students’ precarious positions in policy spaces. This framework demonstrates how libraries are uniquely protected spaces for intellectual freedom and the roles librarians can and should play as sexual health information providers in order to help students overcome information inequities. This chapter will provide recommendations for librarians and other educators to inform and organize advocacy as well as leverage current library operations to support adolescents’ sexual health literacy.
Research finds that various demographic factors, such as race, gender, education, and income, are associated with disparate health outcomes. Health literacy is an asset…
Research finds that various demographic factors, such as race, gender, education, and income, are associated with disparate health outcomes. Health literacy is an asset that can help consumers exert greater control over their health. The rapidly evolving information landscape can be overwhelming for consumers seeking health information. Users may not be aware of the influence of power, prestige, and money in funding, designing, creating, and disseminating information to consumers. Information professionals have an important role to play in providing health information to their users. Proponents of critical information literacy argue that librarianship must evolve beyond supporting the status quo and assist users in understanding the political and commercial forces that can shape the options available to users. Health-literate individuals can also be empowered to challenge the social determinants of health and support policies that would lead to more significant health equity for the whole of society.
This study sought to explore the needs and challenges of public libraries in meeting their users’ health information needs. The study also investigated participants’ perceptions regarding a public library workshop for consumers on the critical evaluation of health information. The study found that while attendance was low, the attendees rated the workshop positively.
What does the intersection of food gardening and public librarianship look like? This chapter examines the question through a close analysis of three case studies that…
What does the intersection of food gardening and public librarianship look like? This chapter examines the question through a close analysis of three case studies that represent the spread of this phenomenon in the United States and Canada. This is a first step toward identifying areas for further research that will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of how food gardening in and around public libraries addresses community-level health disparities. Although it is the case that food gardens and related programming are no strangers to public libraries, this topic has not received sustained attention in the LIS research literature. Public libraries have long been framed as key institutions in increasing consumer health literacy, but a more recent trend has seen them also framed as key institutions in promoting public and community health, particularly through the use of the public library space. This chapter examines food gardens at public libraries with this more expansive understanding of how public libraries address health disparities, by considering how this work occurs through novel partnerships and programs focused on transforming physical space in local communities. At the same time, public interest in food gardens parallels increased awareness of food in society; food and diet as key aspects of health; food justice activism; and a long history of community empowerment in the face of the proliferation of food deserts through myriad activities, including community food gardens. The authors consider how food gardening in public libraries parallels these trends.
The aim of this paper is to investigate whether/how youths’ pre-existing beliefs regarding health-related topics influence their online searching behaviors, such as their…
The aim of this paper is to investigate whether/how youths’ pre-existing beliefs regarding health-related topics influence their online searching behaviors, such as their selection of keywords and search results, their credibility assessments and the conclusions they draw and the uses they make (or do not make) of the information they find. More specifically, we sought to determine whether positive hypothesis testing occurs when youth search for health information online and to ascertain the potential impacts this phenomenon can have on their search behaviors, their ability to accurately answer health-related questions and their confidence in their answers.
An exploratory field experiment was conducted with participants in an after-school program (“HackHealth”), which aims to improve the health literacy skills and health-related self-efficacy of middle-school students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Evidence of positive hypothesis testing among the participants was found and important impacts on their search outcomes were observed.
The paper was concluded with suggestions for improving digital literacy instruction for youth so as to counteract the potentially negative influences of positive hypothesis testing.
This study extends existing research about positive hypothesis testing to investigate the existence and impact of this phenomenon within the context of tweens (ages 11-14) searching for health information online.
Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) offer a form of alternative sentencing for people who have been convicted of a crime related to drug or alcohol abuse. The work of…
Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) offer a form of alternative sentencing for people who have been convicted of a crime related to drug or alcohol abuse. The work of rehabilitation in DTCs is client-centered, meaning that it takes into account all of the client’s needs that affect their life in regards to completion of the program and rehabilitation. DTCs employ teams of people made up of judges, lawyers, educators, clinicians, and community supervisors. There are specific ways that librarians might become involved with DTCs regarding both literacy and, more specifically, health literacy. Existing programs could be adapted to solve common health literacy problems of participants, and librarians could also forge relationships with DTCs. Training for librarians should include education about the health and literacy problems faced by this population so they can successfully connect DTC participants with people and information that will contribute to their success completing the program and building healthier lives. This chapter looks to established best practices within DTCs and to some current related programs within public libraries to find grounds for expanding services to this population.