Book Review: Promoting Individual and Community Health at the Library

Ellen Rubenstein


Interest in consumer health information has been steadily growing since the mid-twentieth century. As author Mary Grace Flaherty notes in her second chapter, Dr. Benjamin Spock published his book on baby care in 1946, and in 1973, the Boston Women’s Health Collective introduced Our Bodies, Ourselves; both of these supremely popular books offered accessible medical information to the general public and were revised and reprinted many times. In 1996, the Medical Library Association’s Consumer and Patient Health Information Section generated a policy statement addressing how librarians could be involved in facilitating access to consumer health information, and the Institute of Medicine began studying health care delivery in the United States, subsequently affirming that understandable consumer health information is integral to successful medical treatment.

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