Evaluation Specialist NNLM National Evaluation Office Cedar Hill, Texas
Objectives: Does a CHIS sponsorship program improve the capacity of public library staff to provide health information to their community?
Methods: In 2018, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) launched a national sponsorship program to support U.S. library staff in obtaining the Medical Library Association (MLA) Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS). To evaluate the impact of the sponsorship program, staff developed a 16-question assessment which was administered to 224 library staff sponsored in the first year of the program. Of the 224 library staff contacted, 126 respondents completed the assessment, a response rate of over 56%. The assessment included questions mapped to competencies for Level I of the CHIS in order to assess behaviors, attitudes, and confidence of library staff who received the specialization. The assessment also examined the value of the specialization and any novel programming or library impact that emerged as a result of receiving the specialization.
Results: For each of the competencies assessed, 80% or more of respondents reported an increase in knowledge. Data indicated that knowledge gained was actionable, with 50% of respondents offered new health information programs, over 70% began offering health information services to patrons, and over 60% weeded or updated their library’s consumer health resources. All respondents indicated that obtaining the specialization met their expectations, but renewing their certificate or obtaining the Level II specialization was not certain. Only 65% of respondents plan to renew, while 33% were unsure and 2% are not planning to renew.
Conclusions: This research indicates that sponsorship of the certificate program was successful in increasing the capacity of public library staff to provide health information to their community. The NNLM sponsorship of CHIS resulted in an increase in knowledge surrounding the competencies of the program. Data indicates that knowledge gained was actionable and put into practice by public library staff sponsored through the program. Comments submitted by respondents will be shared with the Medical Library Association and used to streamline the sponsorship process assist in marketing the program.