Program Session

3 - Public Libraries in the Age of the Affordable Care Act

Monday, May 29
11:05 AM - 11:20 AM
Room: 608

Objectives: The investigators’ previous research showed that public libraries are challenged by the public’s information needs in the health and financial domains. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has ingredients of both. What have been the challenges of information provision about the ACA, and what has been the impact on public libraries and library workers?

Methods: The principal investigators developed an online survey targeting librarians at 1500 central libraries located in 20 of the 50 U.S. States: 10 with federal health exchanges for enrollment under the ACA; 10 with state exchanges. Initial invitations were sent by mail to library directors and heads of reference/public services, identified in the IMLS Public Libraries Survey dataset. Survey respondents were asked 22 questions and could submit free-text responses when appropriate. Topics of questions included: online resources used to answer patrons’ health information questions; specific training received about the ACA; agency and community partners; specific activities the library has engaged in around the ACA enrollment periods; and opinions of information resources available from NLM and other sources. People completing the survey were eligible to enter a raffle to win an iPad for their library. The survey ran from September to November 2016 and achieved a response rate of 32%.

Results and Conclusion: Will be made available during the presentation at MLA 2017.

Keywords: Affordable Care Act; public libraries; health information resources; consumer health; surveys

Program Session

Alla Keselman

Senior Social Science Analyst
Specialized Information Services
Bethesda, MD

Dr. Alla Keselman is a Senior Social Science Analyst in the Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS), National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Her work at the National Library of Medicine involves three distinctive activity areas. The first is leading SIS Web and program evaluation efforts. The second is coordinating activities of the SIS K-12 Group, which include development of science education materials, outreach, and research. The third is conducting basic research into lay understanding of complex health concepts, health literacy, and consumer health informatics. Dr. Keselman holds a doctorate in human cognition and learning and a Master’s degree in biomedical informatics from Columbia University.


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Catherine A. Smith

Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

Prof. Smith is a former medical librarian (Northwestern University and Lincoln National Reinsurance Companies) who moved into biomedical informatics for her PhD through the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's information school. Her research centers on consumer interactions with clinical information systems, mediated through text, in settings that range from personal health records to public libraries to online support groups.


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Janice E. Kelly

Acting Deputy Associate Director
Specialized Information Services
Bethesda, Maryland


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Colette Hochstein

Technical Information specialist
Specialized Information Services
Bethesda, MD

Colette Hochstein is a Technical Information Specialist in the Division of Specialized Information Services at the National Library of Medicine.


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3 - Public Libraries in the Age of the Affordable Care Act

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