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Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety Awareness
 

Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety Awareness

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Title: Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety Awareness ...

Title: Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety Awareness
Objective: To promote awareness of emergency preparedness and family safety resources from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the local community among public librarians and their patrons by partnering with the public library system to host fairs and training.
Methods: The Louis Calder Memorial Library received an Express Community Day Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) to partner with the Miami Dade County Public Library librarians to promote emergency preparedness and safety awareness. Named "Safety Fair: Keep Your Family Safe: Emergency Preparedness at Home and Away," the events improved the public librarians’ knowledge of NLM resources, such as TOXNET, MedlinePlus, ToxTown, ToxMystery, and WISER, as well as university-created resources, such as the Family Disaster Plan Guidebook in English and Spanish and a coloring book for the many children attending the summer fairs. A train-the-trainer program was also implemented for the public librarians. Class participants were asked to fill out a brief questionnaire after the training sessions.
Results: Over 1,000 participants, mostly from underserved populations, attended the three safety fairs. In addition to a quick demonstration of NLM resources, more than 400 Family Disaster Plan Guides and hurricane preparedness coloring books were distributed to the attendees. Calder librarians also held 3 train-the-trainer sessions for the public librarians and branch managers. Forty-four train-the-trainer questionnaires were collected. Although a few trainees noted that it may have been beneficial to have longer training sessions, all 44 responders rated the training sessions as “Helpful” or “Very Helpful.” Most (72%-85%) claimed to already know of MedlinePlus and TOXNET. Trainers reported that they were more likely to obtain home safety information that came from print resources than from other experts.
Conclusion: The fairs were well attended, allowing librarians to deliver useful home safety information to a large underserved audience. Based on this experience, partnerships with public librarians have developed and new opportunities have emerged.
Authors: Gediminas (Geddy) Paulaitis, AHIP, Director, Access Services and Biomedical Communications; Emily Vardell, Director, Reference, Education, and Community Engagement, Louis Calder Memorial Library, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL; Jennifer Shipley, Manager; Business and Science Department; Miami Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL

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    Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety Awareness Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety Awareness Presentation Transcript

    • Collaborating with Public Librarians to Promote Emergency Preparedness and Safety AwarenessGediminas (Geddy) Paulaitis, AHIP, Director for Access Services and Biomedical Communications; Emily Vardell, Director for Reference, Education, and Community Engagement, Calder Memorial Library, University of Miami, Miami, FL;Jennifer Shipley, Manager, Business & Science Department; Miami Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL

      Sample resources used:
      BACKGROUNDThe University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is located in South Florida which is one of the most underserved, multi-cultural areas in the U.S. Many local residents lack access to healthcare as well as health and safety information resources. In addition to the usual health and environmental safety concerns, hurricanes are a constant threat in the area.
      LESSONS LEARNED
      • Concentrate on promoting the core message rather than the handouts or giveaways. A train-the-trainer contact noted that due to the lack of resources, it’s important to concentrate on the fair attendees who are sincerely interested in the message and not to focus on giving out as many freebies as you have.
      • Focus on train-the-trainer sessions and not necessarily the fairs themselves. A trained professional such as a public librarian may be able to reach a broader audience in need of the resource. Secondly, the cost of organizing a training session is much lower than organizing a public safety fair.
      • Design evaluation methods carefully and have a backup plan for gathering survey data. Some attendees may be resistant to filling out surveys potentially due to the time it consumes and the busy environment. Asking a few questions orally and recording the answers is a potential solution.
      • Remain flexible when working with outside institutions and dealing with unpredictable demand and turnout at the fairs. For example, the number of people attending the first “main” fair was fewer than the number of attendees at the subsequent fairs.
      • Be flexible to location changes. While waiting for fairs to be scheduled at branch libraries, space became available at the Miami-Dade County’s Historical Museum of Southern Florida fair. This new arrangement was better due to its location and organizational assistance.
      • Reduce clutter on display tables so it is very clear what the purpose of the display is.
      RESULTS
      • Over 1000 participants, mostly from underserved populations, attended the three safety fairs.
      • Almost half of the fair participants were children who received coloring books, completed NLM’s ToxMystery and explored NLM’s ToxTown.
      • In addition to the population at large, attendees included local school groups, visiting teachers and other Miami-Dade County employees.
      • Over 400 family disaster plan guides (both in English and Spanish) and hurricane preparedness coloring books were distributed to the attendees.
      • Close to 200 brochures and disaster plan guides were distributed to the librarians, community safety organizations and teachers.
      • Made new contacts with relevant community organizations which are already resulting in future outreach efforts.
      • Three train-the-trainer sessions were held for the Miami Dade County Public Librarians. Over 50 library managers and librarians participated.
      • All public librarian attendees rated the training session as “Helpful” or “Very Helpful.”
      Public librarians responses from the train-the-trainer sessions:
      The Calder librarians, together with the Miami-Dade public librarians and the Miami-Dade County’s Historical Museum of Southern Florida planned and co-hosted three large community fairs, entitled Be Aware and Be Safe! Additional exhibitors included:
      • Miami-Dade Consumer Services Division
      • Alliance for Aging
      • National Safety Council
      • Miami-Dade Police
      • Miami Dade County Extension Office
      Home and garden safety speaker
      • Local Citizens Crime watch organization
      • Storyteller Melinda Munger
      OBJECTIVE
      To promote awareness of emergency preparedness and family safety resources from NLM (and the local community) among public librarians and their patrons by partnering with the public library system to host fairs and training.
      In addition to the three safety fairs, Calder librarians implemented three train-the-trainer sessions for the Miami Dade County public librarians. Calder librarians were given over an hour to present various NLM safety and health information resources to over 50 branch library managers and librarians.
      METHODS
      The Louis Calder Memorial Library received an Express Community Day Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to partner with the Miami Dade County Public Library librarians to promote emergency preparedness and safety awareness. Named Safety Fair: Keep Your Family Safe - Emergency Preparedness at Home and Away, the events improved the public librarians’ and community members’ knowledge of NLM resources, such as TOXNET, MedlinePlus, ToxTown®, ToxMystery®, and WISER®, as well as University-created resources, such as the Family Disaster Plan Guidebook in English and Spanish and a coloring book for the many children attending the summer fairs. A train-the-trainer program was also implemented for public librarians. Class participants were asked to fill out a brief questionnaire after the training sessions.
      CONCLUSIONS
      The fairs were well attended, allowing librarians to deliver useful home safety information to a large underserved audience. Based on this experience, partnerships with public librarians have developed and new opportunities have emerged.
      “This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. NO1-LM-6-3502 with the University of Maryland Baltimore.”
      For additional information please contact Geddy Paulaitis geddy@miami.edu