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Making connections: Blackwell Regional Library receives Penn Medicine grant for its consumer health book collection

First in a series of posts about libraries as connectors.

However libraries and the forms of communicating information have evolved over history, one of the most central, most important, and perennial roles of the library and librarian has been that of creating connections. For example…

One afternoon I was contacted by a School of Nursing faculty member regarding a community health education grant that was available from Penn Medicine. The faculty member thought of the Biomedical Library in regard to this grant because we support a number of community-facing nursing classes. One of the courses we support is Nursing in the Community (N380). This course sends students to various community clinical sites which happen to include several West Philadelphia branches of the Free Library where the Biomedical Library has set up grant-supported “Health Corners.” Because of all this, the faculty member felt that we would be a good connector for the Penn Medicine grant opportunity, and we did not let her down. I immediately called my colleagues at the Blackwell Regional Library to to see what needs they had that could be turned into a grant proposal.

Photo of Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

The Blackwell staff quickly generated a number of ideas and were enthusiastic to translate them into action. Until May 2017, Blackwell had been closed for almost a year and half for renovation, and didn’t receive any new materials during the closure, or any additional funds to refresh collections on reopening. So, they were quite pleased to hear about this opportunity to update their health resources.

Within 48 hours, we had a grant proposal to rebuild the Blackwell Library’s consumer health collection, which was accepted by Penn Medicine, and promptly fulfilled.

It is well known that health information is one of the primary reasons why people visit the Free Library, and we are pleased to have connected the Blackwell Library to this grant opportunity enabling them to provide access to a variety of new materials. Thank you, Penn Medicine! And thank you to the School of Nursing for partnering with Penn Libraries and the Free Library of Philadelphia for community health education outreach.

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