Librarians’ role in improving health literacy in their communities

By wp_aedile July 10, 2019

July 11, 2019

Health literacy is increasingly important in today’s complex information ecosystem, both nationally and globally. Across the world, whether people live in “information rich” or “information poor” societies, the role of health information professionals is a vital one.

In the article Health information literacy awareness and capacity building: Present and future published in the IFLA Journal, librarians at the Health Sciences Library (HSL) Terri Ottosen, Nandita Mani, and Megan Fratta consider how the ubiquitous nature of health information creates a wealth of accessible content and simultaneously creates confusion about what information is reliable, how health information can be utilized, and whether or not information is produced in a meaningful manner. They state;

“…in order to mitigate the health information crisis we are now facing, we need to collaborate and respond to the challenges raised by the complexity of health information. Librarians and other information professionals can and must play an important role in improving health literacy in their communities.”

The article also looks at health literacy in the US, with an emphasis on innovative work by HSL that has strengthened efforts surrounding health literacy in local communities and throughout the state of North Carolina.

Ottosen, Mani and Fratta work at the Health Sciences Library of the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The articles was published as Open Access and can be viewed at

Last modified: 05/26/20