Library Research


Background and objectives: As a result of their involvement in a campus health fair, the authors of this paper became interested in the extent to which other academic libraries were engaged in health information outreach (HIO). The authors present the results of a nationwide survey they conducted in 2010 and share a specific example of HIO at their own institution.

Methods: The authors conducted an online survey of approximately 1700 U.S. general academic and academic health science libraries with the objective to create a broad picture of HIO activity and its context within patron information-seeking behavior.

Results: The survey yielded a 21% response rate. Nearly 55% of all respondents indicated that their libraries did not participate in HIO, while 37% indicated that they did. Other responses yielded information on patron usage patterns concerning health information, specific types of HIO that libraries are involved in, and barriers to library involvement in HIO.

Conclusions: As libraries’ traditional roles and information delivery methods evolve, librarians must do more to provide services that are relevant and accessible to users. Even as virtual services become more commonplace, librarians involved in HIO should consider also increasing their visibility by collaborating with others on campus.


The definitive version of this article is available at

Date Created


Publication Date


Publication Title

Health Information & Libraries Journal





First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


LC Subject

Medical libraries -- Periodicals, Public health libraries -- Periodicals, Information science -- Periodicals

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Document Size

15 pp


Health Information Outreach_ A Survey of U.S. Academic Libraries.pdf


The University of Toledo


University of Toledo Libraries

Digital Publisher

Digital Initiatives, The University of Toledo Libraries

Figure 1.tif (88 kB)
Librarian participation in HIO

Figure 2.tif (69 kB)
Groups targeted for HIO by library type

Figure 3.tif (105 kB)
Frequency of librarian participation in health fairs or events

Table 1.tif (72 kB)
Top 3 reasons librarians perceive patrons to seek health information

Table 2.tif (68 kB)
Perceived need for HIO by library type



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