Category: Public Librarians Symposium

90 - The Youth Health Literacy Challenge: A Partnership between University of Texas Health-San Antonio Libraries, North East Independent School District, and the San Antonio Public Library

Tuesday, May 22
2:00 PM – 2:55 PM

Objectives: This poster will describe how UT Health San Antonio Libraries partnered with the North East Independent School District (NEISD) Summer Food Service Program and the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) on a project, the Youth Health Literacy Challenge, to promote NLM resources that could encourage youth to practice healthy behaviors. This project filled a gap in providing health information resources to the public during feeding times at library branches.

This project ran in conjunction with the SAPL’s Summer Reading Program and was carried out in a similar fashion with youth logging their activities. The logs prompted youth to complete health literacy activities based on challenges written in both English and Spanish. The food service staff handed out the logs during feeding times at four library branches and the public library staff collected completed logs. Additionally, staff from UT Health San Antonio Libraries and SAPL distributed supplemental calendars that included kid-friendly recipes, word games, and information on the NLM’s websites for youth. The target audience was underrepresented and underserved youth in grades 3-12, in part due to statistics that 45% of children aged 8-18 in Bexar County are overweight or obese. Teen cooking programs were provided in two library branches to promote the program.

Program partners distributed 1,838 out of 2,253 calendars during the project period. NEISD staff distributed 1,269 out of 1,900 logs, yet no completed logs were returned. The youth seemed to show more interest in taking home a calendar or participating in a cooking program than completing and returning the logs.

Since the school district does not typically hand out health information during its summer feeding program, it would be beneficial to continue to promote health information resources to participants through vehicles such as calendars. Rather than distribute logs, the challenges could possibly be incorporated into a cooking or other library program in unique ways to further engage youth.

Keywords: Health literacy, consumer health, community engagement, outreach, youth, community partnerships

Karen D. Barton

Liaison to the School of Health Professions and Community Engagement Librarian
UT Health San Antonio Libraries
San Antonio, Texas

Karen Barton is a Liaison to the School of Health Professions and Community Engagement Librarian at UT Health San Antonio where she promotes library resources and services in support of education, research, and community health. Previously, she worked as a youth services librarian in public libraries in both St. Louis, MO and San Antonio, TX. She received her MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. in Communication – Media Production from the University of Houston.