Your Library’s American Heart Month Toolkit

4 min read

Help Your Library Patrons Improve Their Heart Health

| By Gale Staff |

This February, you can get double-duty out of those colorful, construction paper hearts you made for Valentine’s Day. February is also American Heart Month, so why not celebrate all matters of the heart rather than focus solely on the romantic elements of the season? Gale Health and Wellness has a rich collection of cardiovascular disease information and resources for librarians to master and share with their patrons. With Gale, you can help your community members assess and improve their heart health.

According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease (also called CVD or heart disease) is the leading cause of death for Americans. Many people don’t realize that some of the biggest contributors to negative heart health are personal behaviors and habits, including heavy drinking, smoking, poor dietary choices, and low physical activity. In most cases, heart disease is preventable. Educating your patrons on key lifestyle changes can go a long way toward improving their heart health and overall well-being.

Explore Accurate Information

One of the essential characteristics of our digital collections is accuracy. With Gale Health and Wellness, you can ensure that your patrons have access to up-to-date, vetted medical information. Rather than self-diagnosing based on whatever their web searches produce, users can comb through millions of peer-reviewed articles, research studies, helpful graphics, and other forms of media. Information is presented in an accessible format for academic research or basic public comprehension, spanning everything from scholarly journals to health magazines.

Gale resources adjust to all learners and integrate helpful tools that customize information to your patrons’ needs and abilities. Translation services, text-to-speech audio files, and personalized display options are built into every article. These features are especially important because they help support your public library’s accessibility for everyone in your community. Patrons need to trust that the information available at their library is not only authoritative but attainable and user-friendly.

Create Outreach Specific to Your Community’s Needs

Every community is different, and librarians can customize their displays and outreach efforts to meet the needs of their patrons. For example, your library can spread awareness of how heart disease symptoms present differently in women than men. Moreover, CVD awareness has decreased among American women in the past decade, even though it’s the leading cause of death. Experts suggest that because women are the predominant caretakers in the home, especially during the pandemic, they often don’t prioritize their personal health until it’s too late.

Library Outreach Idea: The American Heart Association has specific information catered to women. Create a bulletin board that outlines key facts and symptoms of heart disease for this population. Or, get inspiration from the folks at Lipton Tea and facilitate a time at your library for women to gather and discuss their physical health.

Take Advantage of Gale’s Support Site

Subscribers to Gale Health and Wellness can access a specially curated toolkit to inspire your American Heart Month activities and outreach. Find helpful tools like the Heart Health Month Five-Day Challenge or the Heart Health Month Personal Inventory. This second resource helps your library patrons complete a personal inventory of their positive and negative heart habits based on the heart disease overview within Gale Health and Wellness. Encourage your community members to not only reflect on their own health but create a list of specific questions for their medical providers. Hopefully, this exercise will help remind individuals to make an appointment with their primary care physician, something Americans too often forget to do.

Librarians can also take advantage of printable tip sheets for themselves and their patrons. Consider leaving copies by your library’s computers. These tipsheets outline best practices for the advanced search features in Gale Health and Wellness. After all, with millions of articles to explore, a little guidance can help users find the targeted results they need. Users can search by keyword, subject, publication, and other filters. Gale collections even feature a Topic Finder, which maps out related subjects via a dynamic visual graphic.

If you want to dig deeper, you can watch quick, on-demand training videos specific to Gale Health and Wellness. These videos are designed to assist librarians in mastering the advanced search features and workflow tools to better serve their patrons.

If your library isn’t a Gale Health and Wellness subscriber, you can explore more info about the resource or contact your rep.

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