Presented to the Norfolk Public Library Board
Norfolk Public Library’s Horace C. Downing Branch staff designed and created a Public Health Care Initiative program designed to serve the needs of their specific patron population. Norfolk citizens as a whole are less insured than other Hampton Roads residents (Carballo, 2018). As of July 2018, 14.6% of Norfolk residents were not covered by health insurance, compared to 8% of the general Hampton Roads population (Carballo, 2018). The Horace C. Downing Branch Library serves a small community, situated in a suburban neighborhood in the city of Norfolk. It serves a small community, situated in a suburban neighborhood in the city of Norfolk.
To address the health insurance needs of Norfolk residents, a meeting between Norfolk residents and lawmakers was held to brainstorm a solution. In a 2017 meeting with Norfolk residents and community members, a possible solution was proposed: healthcare and healthcare information needs to be brought directly into neighborhoods in need (City of Norfolk, 2017). The proposed Healthcare Initiative can be manifested either in two smaller events, or a more hefty collection of events across a week or month-long period. The following two programs specifically cater to the needs of the Horace C. Downing Branch’s patronage:
- A program inviting community members into the library for assistance and support in completing and submitting applications for federal, state, and local assistance(s) and insurance(s).
- A program, partnering with a Norfolk hospital or local health agency, to offer and administer influenza vaccinations to attendees.
Materials & Activities
Information on typical supplies needed for vaccine clinic events was gathered from PrescribeWellness’ web article “How to Host a Flu Shot Clinic at Your Pharmacy” (PrescribeWellness). Flyers and handouts were found on the American Library Association’s Outreach Hub, available for use at no cost. Staffing for the Healthcare Application Assistance day consisted of existing library employees and staff, and volunteer health care workers from the local Sentara health care system. The Vaccine clinic event will exist as a partnership between Norfolk Public Library, and the Sentara Healthcare System.
By incorporating a healthcare program, the NPL system followed through with the goals expressed in their mission statement, values, and strategic plan. Training library staff members on the navigation of applications assisted patrons seeking help with health insurance applications. Providing opportunities for members of the Norfolk community to receive assistance and vaccinations within their own neighborhoods removed barriers between citizens and adequate health care (Collins, 2015; Phillbin, Parker, Flaherty, & Hirsch, 2019). Bringing healthcare information and resources into the communities where at-risk people live, Norfolk Public Library supported its VMOSA and encouraged its patronage. Additionally, creating and implementing a Healthcare Initiative supported Norfolk residents’ own ideas to solve the existing health crisis (Economic Barriers to Information Access, 2019).
Prior to the event taking place, we gathered a small group of stakeholders to discuss our expectations and what we expected the event to look like. By establishing a collective idea of what a successful event looks like, our team would then know what to judge the actual results of the event against (Hoag, 2019). Upon completion of the Health Care events, a meeting of staff members of the library and the volunteers who assisted with this event was held, where feedback was gathered and discussed. Each individual was asked to write down three aspects of the initiative that went well, and three aspects that could be improved upon. This meeting’s attendees served as a focus group for those involved with the healthcare initiative (Ainsworth, 2020). Then, patrons and attendees of the event would be surveyed to gain feedback. Catering the assessment format and question format to the content of the question and the intended audience allows the questions to be uniquely tailored to gain the most pressing information. For stakeholders and staff members, I believe that it is more important to offer open-ended questions, so that more discussion amongst teammates can occur. Conversely, offering a variety of question formats, but primarily rating/selection questions to attendees enables us to tune in to the specific information needs of the assessment. Creating specific questions with specific feedback in mind is what makes surveys effective (Graves et al., 2018).
Moving forward, the Horace C. Downing branch will continue to offer influenza vaccine clinics each Fall, as long as funding is available. The overall Healthcare Initiative will be split
up, with health insurance application assistance being available on a weekly basis during the health insurance enrollment window. Library staff will be trained to assist as part of their onboarding training modules, and refresher courses will be offered quarterly.
Ainsworth, Q. (2020, April 2). Data Collection Methods. Retrieved from https://www.jotform.com/data-collection-methods
Carballo, R. (2018, July 28). Norfolk has Hampton Roads highest uninsured population, but Medicaid expansion could help. The Virginian Pilot. Retrieved from https://www.pilotonline.com/business/article_d12ceb6a-8b7c-11e8-8e4c-a7c5424c88d5.html
City of Norfolk. (2017). Appendix C: Key Themes Identified in Community Listening Meetings. In Norfolk Community Health Improvement Plan. Retrieved from https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/31480/Norfolk-CHIP?bidId=
Collins L. N. (2015). Healthy Libraries Develop Healthy Communities: Public Libraries and their Tremendous Efforts to Support the Affordable Care Act. Journal of consumer health on the Internet, 19(1), 68–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/15398285.2014.988467
Deutsch, L., 2019. Public Library Association Announces Next Phase Of Health Initiative Focused On Insurance Literacy. [online] News and Press Center. Available at: <http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/02/public-library-association-announces-next-phase-health-initiative-focused> [Accessed 22 April 2020].
Economic Barriers to Information Access: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. (2019, July 13). Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/economicbarriers
Graves, S., LeMire, S., Mastel, K., & Farrell, S. (2018, August 13). Demonstrating Library Value Through Outreach Goals and Assessment. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/8/demonstrating-library-value-through-outreach-goals-and-assessment
Hoag, E. (2019, July 11). Tips for Reflecting On and Evaluating Your Library Programs. Retrieved from https://ideas.demco.com/blog/library-program-evaluation-tips/
Norfolk Public Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.norfolkpubliclibrary.org/about-npl/about-our-library
Norfolk Public Library. (2018). Strategic directions: 2018-2023. The City of Norfolk: Norfolk, VA. Retrieved from https://www.norfolkpubliclibrary.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=822
PrescribeWellness. (n.d.). How to Host a Flu Shot Clinic at Your Pharmacy . Retrieved from https://university.prescribewellness.com/wp-content/uploads/How-to-Host-a-Flu-Shot-Clinic.pdf