Tweens (10-12)




Young Adult





DLD Health Literacy Initiative

The Connecticut State library's Health Library Initiative is one of the our Division of Library Development (DLD) Strategic Focus Plan "Seven Literacies" — a key element of the Division's LSTA Five Year Plan. The initiative consists of strategic partnerships; ongoing health webinar offerings; professional development workshops, and online health and wellness resources. These are offered via our Health Literacy in Libraries Libguide and through our Resources for the Public.

The Health Literacy Initiative began in 2015 with a DLD Health Literacy Fair and has since evolved into a health program series directed to the public, academic, school and special libraries we serve. Librarians implement programs and workshops in their respective communities,  often developing strategic partnerships with their local health organizations. 

Advanced Planning

As with any state library initiative, we begin with a community needs assessment using targeted surveys; focus groups; one-on-one feedback as well as assessment of programming trends; current events (ACA, opioid crisis) and specific needs in Connecticut communities (such as the Sandy Hook tragedy).

As part of DLD's Strategic Focus Plan work we identified Seven Literacies of critical importance in Connecticut, with health literacy being a predominant area of interest and need in the statewide community. DLD defines health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. People apply these health literacy skills either to make sense of health information and services, or to provide health information and services to others.

We, in turn, identified partners such as the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Connecticut Department of Public Health, UConn Health, National Network of Libraries of Medicine and other agencies and organizations to develop and plan from programming beginning with the 2015 Connecticut Health Literacy Fair.

Our Strategic Focus Plan goal is that Connecticut residents will be able to manage their well-being and will be empowered to become effective partners with their healthcare providers.


We generally plan workshops three months in advance and begin promoting offerings 30 days in advance. We use fliers; email blasts on various listservs sponsored by DLD and partner organizations; newsletters; announcements at professional meetings and other media outlets, such as our continuing education calendar.


Most of our health literacy programs are presented in partnership with other state agencies, institutions of higher education and other health-focused organizations that provide instructors, programs and materials at no cost. In the event we do offer programs at cost, we have allocated a generous portion of our LSTA state grant funds to support professional development programs and workshops.

In our experience, most health awareness-related programs are offered by nonprofit organizations whose missions are consistent with our own goals. 

Day-of-event Activity

A significant portion of our mission is to provide professional development programs and workshops, so we have a set protocol for program set-up, usually with one DLD consultant assigned to setup, host and monitor workshop.

Program Execution

We generally limit program attendance to 15 to 30 librarians. Most workshops fill to capacity, and when there is a waiting list, we add a second workshop within 30 days.

As part of LSTA grant requirements, we gather evaluations from each attendee at every workshop. For 2017, all of our workshops received favorable evaluations and requests for more health literacy training.


In addition to our own internal evaluation surveys conducted by our LSTA coordinator, other outcomes include: anecdotal feedback from libraries and librarians who attended our various programs and have replicated a health fair in their own community; librarians who have developed strategic partnerships and have developed their own health programming initiatives; and very specific examples of librarians who have attended programming and have used what they have learned in their own personal lives.

The key to a successful, ongoing health literacy program is developing strategic partnerships with health-centered organizations that maintain similar missions of promoting health and wellness awareness.

Supporting Materials