Consumer Health Information Literacy: Librarians' Contribution to Health and Well-being

Caroline De Brún*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Librarians from different sectors can work together with other agencies to help the public find, appraise and use good quality information, so that members of the public can make informed decisions about their healthcare options. The importance of shared decision-making and the concepts of health literacy and health information literacy are discussed, along with the consequences of poor health information literacy. People are being encouraged to participate in deci¬sions about their medical treatment choices but are not supported in finding and accessing appropriate information. Public librarians are uniquely positioned in the community to provide information support to the public, particularly to those people whom health and social care services find hard to reach. Medical librar¬ians have the skills required to find the relevant health consumer information. Medical libraries demonstrate value to the health service because they deliver services which save time for health professionals through the provision of access to reliable and relevant research supporting informed decision-making between professionals and the public. UK public libraries have the potential to offer similar services to members of the public, but they are under threat, facing cuts to stock, staff and opening hours. Public Health England's (PHE) Knowledge and Library Service has been working with Health Education England (HEE), Librar¬ies Connected (formerly the Society for Chief Librarians), the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the Patient Information Forum (PIF), and National Health Service (NHS) and public librarians, developing work¬shops and supporting materials designed to facilitate access to consumer health information for members of the public. Outlines of the workshops are provided in this chapter, along with examples of collaborative work around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrowing Community Health Literacy through Libraries
Subtitle of host publicationSharing Global Perspectives
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783110362640, 9783110396133
ISBN (Print)9783110362510
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameIFLA publications package
PublisherDe Gruyter
ISSN (Print)0344-6891

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. All rights reserved.


  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Information literacy
  • Medical care - Decision making
  • Patient participation


Dive into the research topics of 'Consumer Health Information Literacy: Librarians' Contribution to Health and Well-being'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this