By Jean P. Shipman, Sarah Barbara Watstein

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We lead discussions and interactions, and assist in coalition building. We also provide information and find facts! We can tell the story, drive the bus, and deliver the goods – while making documenting the whole process. And we can offer leadership and provide the vision that allows it all to happen. Why not? It has been suggested that librarians are invited to be involved because they are “neutral” or “non-political”. Possibly, but hopefully not. Preferably, it is because we historically care about the entire enterprise, are global in our interests, and bring the public’s perspective to our work.

There was more of a need for practice guidelines, for example. The domain of interest, too, was much broader than clinical sciences, stretching into areas of law, social science and “applied civics” such as how to work with community groups and political entities. These needs and observations sparked conversations among those of us conducting the training. There was almost nothing in the literature at the time on public health information needs. We were learning about those needs as we went along, but progress was piecemeal and we felt it hampered our effectiveness.

Through the Center, information services are provided to community groups previously underserved by the academic library. Some neighborhoods are desperate for information that will help people improve their quality of life. Librarians have a role in providing health information that changes people’s lives. , Singer, S. K. (2003), “Use of the internet and e-mail for health-care information”, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 289 No. 18, pp. 2400-6. Pew Internet and American Life Project (1999), “Internet health resources: health searches and e-mail have become more commonplace, but there is room for improvement in searches and overall internet access”, p.

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