Originally presented February 15, 2023

Today many adults have difficulty knowing how to find a physician, fill a prescription, use and pay for medications, and use health information to make informed decisions about their health.

Libraries are prominent places in communities - making libraries and librarians excellent resources for advancing health information literacy. For example, librarians can address the unmet information needs that make it difficult to make health insurance choices, particularly for seniors.

Addressing this critical information need, Emily Vardell, Ph.D., explores the history of Medicare, health insurance coverage for older adults in the United States, and the complex Medicare system itself.

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Click the links below to download additional resources: 

Health Insurance Literacy and Older Adults Slides

Health Insurance Literacy and Older Adults Chat Transcript

Health Insurance Literacy and Older Adults Audio Transcript

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Health, Legal, and Social Service Tutorial  1

Health, Legal, and Social Services Questions: Reference and Resources

Health, legal, and social services questions are common in public libraries, but staff aren’t always trained on how to answer them. You may not understand your role, what resources are available, or even what the patron is asking for. In this first part of the Health, Legal, and Social Service Questions series we will cover social service basics, reference interview best practices, and quality reference resources.

Health, Legal, and Social Service Tutorial 2

Health, Legal, and Social Services Questions: Referrals, Partners, and Programs 

Part two of the Health, Legal, and Social Service Questions series covers referrals, partnerships, programming, and reflective practice. 


The reference interview thumbnail

The Reference Interview

At the heart of reference services—and library services—is the reference interview, a consultation between staff and patrons that matches information to a need. Learn how to recommend sources and help patrons interpret, evaluate, and use information to meet their needs. It is one of the most complex, important, and rewarding jobs in the library. 


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Welcome to the Reference Desk

You might be the first—or only—person someone talks with in the library. Patrons, and the library, trust you to provide the best service you can, so credibility is important. Reference isn’t just about “answering questions”—in fact, that’s just a small part of it. A lot of reference interactions are about teaching patrons how to search for, find, and evaluate information so they can do it on their own.