Low health literacy levels account for hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on health care that would otherwise be unnecessary, with recent estimates settling around $236 billion. Unfortunately, low health literacy is common, difficult to spot, and negatively impacts health outcomes.
Libraries can be a front-line in the fight against low health literacy. In order to fund and utilize libraries and librarians in realizing health literacy goals, new policies must be created. That is why EveryLibrary Institute has commissioned a report on the effects of Low Health Literacy. The EveryLibrary Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Institute gifts fund our research, data, training, and public education efforts.
Authors Ellen Thieme and Christina Pryor review current issues with understanding and delivering health literacy services and make recommendations for changes to systems for better outcomes.
Key recommendations in the report focus on how literacy programs should be delivered by educators who match the demographics or are otherwise embedded in communities, how agencies and government organizations should make every effort to include and value libraries within literacy task forces, and how libraries should be offered the funding and agency to take the lead on literacy within these initiatives. This report will provide new insights to library leaders in public, academic and school settings.
Policy makers, voters, and interested individuals can access EveryLibrary’s report through their website.