Affordable Access

Meeting the Health Information Needs of Diverse Populations

Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Publication Date
  • Consumer Health Information
  • Health Information
  • Public Services (Libraries)
  • Computer Science
  • Linguistics


Meeting the health information needs of diverse communities is a challenge for librarians. Libraries of many types have a duty to identify and maintain contact with constituents having a variety of health information needs. Assessing community needs includes identifying specific population groups, the languages that they speak, the health issues affecting their lives, and their preferred methods of obtaining information. Locating, acquiring, and disseminating materials that address relevant health issues in an accessible manner takes commitment, funding, and a variety of collection development techniques. Library efforts have improved access to health information for diverse communities, but significant barriers to accessing health information remain. Reaching communities effectively includes community outreach via programming and partnering with communitybased organizations and local health care agencies. By assisting information creators and health care providers in understanding how materials are being used and what materials need to be developed, library staff can play an important role in promoting the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate health information.

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