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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