Public Libraries: Consumer Health Collection Management

Consumer Health Collection Management

The consumer health books, relied on by many libraries in the past, are no longer available. Medical associations and healthcare organizations no longer publish printed resources as the Internet has become more widely used. Below are links to various online collections, including some print materials provided by library and other related associations. Consider adding to your library’s shelves and or links to your the library's online presence such as the catalog and subject guides.

Consumer Health Resources

Often professional medical associations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics website offer their publications for purchase. Be aware that this usually includes publications for healthcare professionals as well as for the public.

Organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) may offer books for the library’s collection but also brochures and tools to purchase and offer your patrons in a program or just to hand out. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH includes health information for the public in both English and Spanish.

The monthly newsletter, NIH News in Health can be ordered for your library. 

Consider visiting each of the NIH institutes and centers to access health information for the public. 

Some NIH institutes and centers have publications your library can download for free or order for free such as: 

Additional Resource Lists 

Visit the Health Information section of this Public Libraries Guide for selected quality health information resources. 

NNLM Reading Club titles: The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) selects 3 books each month to highlight health. The kit includes information about each book, information about the health topic, and book club discussion questions.

The Diverse Voices in Health & Medicine Collections Toolkit: Available are four collection categories of books libraries can consider to add to their collections. The list of books is a compilation from NNLM funding received by 27 libraries and organizations. The PDF lists are searchable.

Medical Library Association:

Graphic Medicine Resources

Many graphic medicine books address the topic of health, including mental health, creating a unique opportunity for readers to learn about healthcare experiences.

“Graphic Medicine is the intersection of the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare.” 

-Ian Williams, MD and cartoonist

NNLM Region 7 and Graphic Medicine
Region 7 provides its members with a Community of Interest with access to graphic medicine book club toolkits. For those not in Region 7, book discussion guides are available.
A hub for graphic medicine news, reviews, an associated podcast, and an annual conference.
Spanish language sister site to

Graphic Medicine YouTube Playlist
A collection of graphic medicine webinars and videos.

Graphic Novels & the Humanity of Mental Illness
An ALA-funded annotated bibliography of graphic novel titles which can be browsed by title or diagnosis.
A site with classroom-friendly graphic medicine content, including videos.

Annals Graphic Medicine
The medical journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, includes an affiliated site which collects comics and graphics made by those who give and receive healthcare, aiming to address medically-relevant topics.

National Library of Medicine Exhibition Program

The Exhibition Program strives to promote greater understanding and awareness of how the past informs the present and can shape the future. The freely available online exhibitions feature curated selections of digitized books, images, ephemera, films, and historical documents from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Digital Collections, the library’s health information resources, educational activities, and more. One exhibits focus on comics.

  • Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn! 
    This exhibit explores an increasingly popular literary field that presents personal illness narratives and health information through the medium of comics. The exhibition highlights comics or graphic novels which your library may want to consider adding to its collection. 

NNLM Training on Collection Management

Consumer Health Collection Management – on demand 

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