Monday, April 12, 2010

National Library Week - Communities Thrive

Today begins National Library Week, an annual celebration that highlights the value of all types of libraries and librarians. This year's theme is "Communities Thrive @your library."  Libraries have long been integral to communities.  They provide access to information for the entire community and also serve as meeting places and community centers.  As we strive to build a community of inquiry here at Frontier, the library plays a central role in that process as well.  Once you become a part of the Frontier community, you will always be a part of it, no matter where you may reside.  But you are also a part of your home community. I thought we could take this opportunity to discuss libraries in your own community. Are you aware of the libraries in your community?  If not, you might want to start by checking out  On their Find a Library page, you can enter a zip code or city name and see a list of libraries and the distance to them.  Note that ALL types of libraries are shown, even school libraries, so you may need to refine by type on the left side of the screen:
Most communities have a public library, and those can be great community resources.  They often have computer classes and story times for children as well as having Internet access and books and magazines.  While they probably will not have the medical and nursing journals that you may rely on as an APN, they may be able to get articles via interlibrary loan.  Note that hospital libraries will be listed under "corporate or special." Hospital libraries may not offer services to non-employees but it might be worth checking.  Finally, the academic category will show you all of the college and university libraries in your area, including community colleges.  If these institutions are public, they will almost always allow community patrons.  Private colleges and universities will have different policies, but again, it is worth checking to see if they offer services to community residents.

Another option for library services for health professionals is an AHEC, Area Health Education Center.  The AHEC program was started in the 1970s to support health professionals working with underserved populations by providing continuing education, information dissemination, and other professional support.  There are 54 AHEC programs with more than 200 centers in the U.S. Find one near you using the National AHEC Organization's directory.

Another link you might find helpful is this list of Medical/Health Sciences Libraries on the Web, arranged by state, from Hardin Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Iowa.  

So, what's a great library in your community?

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