Biomed Librarian forges community partnerships at First Thursday Meetings at Free Library of Philadelphia Walnut Street West Branch


Every first Thursday of the month from September through May, the University of Pennsylvania Office of Government & Community Affairs (OGCA) hosts an 8am networking meeting open to all Penn students, staff, and faculty as well as nonprofit organizations, community/neighborhood/block associations, government agencies, elected officials, public safety staff, and West Philadelphia residents in the Community Room at the Free Library of Philadelphia Walnut Street West Branch.

As Community Health & Engineering Librarian, I represent the Biomedical Library at the 1st Thursday Meetings, and connect with community members and Penn partners such as Sayre Health Center and Penn Medicine CAREs who share an interest in community health and health literacy.

Each month, there is a different meeting theme. This month’s theme was voter registration and arts & culture, so presenters representing select Penn entities and community organizations spoke about their initiatives in either of these two areas. Following the presentations, others in the room made announcements and shared flyers about upcoming public events and programs. For example, Penn Medicine announced that it is looking for community partners to table at its annual Community Baby Shower, a SIDS awareness-focused event for new and expectant mothers, on Saturday October 6th from 11am to 3pm at the First District Plaza, located on 3801 Market Street.

The community health-related flyers from the First Thursday meetings can be found at the Biomedical Library’s Consumer Health Information Corner. All other flyers are posted on either the public bulletin board or outside of Room G-21.

For more information, or to collaborate on a community health or health literacy initiative, feel free to email

The theme of next month’s First Thursday meeting is educational opportunities. I hope see you there!  The meetings are catered by the nearby Metropolitan Bakery (MB) Cafe, so arrive in time to grab a cup of coffee and light breakfast snack.

Categories: Events

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