Background: Obesity affects 93 million adults in the US, and an estimated 252,000 had bariatric surgery in 2018. Recent articles in obesity surgery journals found a lack of high-quality online information for patients considering surgery. To help fill this knowledge gap, a hospital library collaborated with the bariatric surgery program to build a consumer health book collection to educate and support bariatric surgery patients. These books focus on both pre- and post-surgical information needs and supplement information provided during clinic appointments and at support group meetings.
Description: In May 2018 the bariatric surgery physician assistant (PA) met with the librarian to discuss library services and resources for her patients. A small collection of bariatric surgery books from the library network was supplemented by purchasing six newer titles. In the following months the collection was promoted at a support group meeting, and a recommended reading list was developed and published in the patient newsletter. Use of the collection was sporadic in the first year. In June 2019, a patient handout with library information and a list of available books was created for the PA to give to patients during their appointments. To increase awareness of the collection, the reading list and library information was included in the patient preoperative booklet. Additional books were purchased over the last 12 months, including second copies of popular books.
Conclusion: At the end of the first year, circulation was 16. Through ten months of the year two, circulation increased 150% to 40. The popularity of the collection presented the opportunity to explore other information needs the patients have throughout their surgical journey. An expansion of the collection to include topics such as emotional eating and mindfulness is under consideration. In order to keep circulation steady, routine contact with both patients and the patient care team is needed, such as promoting the collection at support group meetings and updating the team on successes and challenges.