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Digital inclusion health hubs launched in England

In last months CILIP Update there was a news item about 'Digital inclusion health hubs launched' which caught my eye.

"DIGITAL hubs to give people the skills they need to access online health information are being created in libraries and community centres." P6

The news item is based upon an article originally published in E-Government Bulletin issue 352.

"The project is the result of a partnership between the Online Centres Foundation, which manages digital inclusion network UK online centres, and NHS England. It will initially fund the establishment of 35 digital health hubs, where people can receive help getting online and undertake training sessions on using online health resources, including the NHS Choices website.

Some 25 of the hubs will be located from April in existing UK online centres, which are based in more than 3,800 public locations including libraries, community centres, schools, churches and pubs."

“We know that people who are likely to experience health inequalities are also those that are most likely to be offline, so the partnership between the two organisations seemed like something that could have a huge impact on helping people to improve their health and access the services they need in the local community”, Helen Milner, Chief Executive of Online Centres Foundation, told E-Government Bulletin.

“By being online, people can find the information they need to do things like lose weight, eat more healthily or exercise more”, Milner said. “They can also find out about what’s available in their local area, so they can make the right decisions for them. This programme aims to support people to improve their computer and internet skills, which will have a huge knock-on effect on their health and their lives.” ‘Health Hubs’ To Use Digital Inclusion As Fitness And Wellness Tool

Hopefully some elements of information literacy will be inlcuded in the 'training sessions on using online health resources'. From the research I carried out for a chapter on health information literacy for a book to be published this year there appeared to be little actual information literacy training available for the public more pointing to reliable health websites and resources. It is also good  news the involvement of public libraies.

It will be interesting to hear how these progress. 


"Scholar" - a new platform for Assessing Learning

Thanks to Eleni Zazani for her LinkedIn posting / blog posting Assess and be assessed as a Scholar

Eleni feels that it supports deep learning and could work as part of an Information Literacy Assessment plan.

It is also said to:

  • encourage positive motivational beliefs
  • develop self-assessment and reflection
  • inform and shape your teaching

"The tool is the outcome of the collective work of a research team supported by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences across four grants. Unlike the majority of technologies that have been developed with the commercial domain’s needs in mind, and were later embraced by educators who tried to find innovative ways to use them in the classroom setting,  Scholar is one of  the very few learning technologies that have been created by educators to support the learning process with diagnostic assessment being in its core."

Sounds like worth a look.


Aberdeenshire Information Literacy and Learning Librarian wins CILIP President's Information Literacy Challenge

Congratulations to winner Jacqueline Geekie Information Literacy and Learning Librarian at Aberdeenshire Council.

Jacqueline and colleague Jan Murdoch - a network librarian filmed a group of school pupils on a visit to Ellon Library to research a project on the Second World War and shows how the library service puts information literacy into action. See the film at 

The film also higlights other events such as Bookbug sessions, intergenerational work and secondary pupils teaching people ICT skills within the library setting and Jacquelins says that "it is part of everything we do daily to make learning engaging."

As Phil Bradley says "Every day all across the UK librarians and information professionals are doing fantastic work to help people better understand the world around them."

News item from CILIP Update June 2013


Health literacy: let's think again 

Catching up on my emails after being away and came across this interesting article 'Health literacy: let's think again' by Graham Kramer a GP and National Clinical Lead Self Management and Health Literacy, Scottish Government.

He starts by saying that he doesn't like the term 'health literacy' as not many people understand it. Sounds familar! Anway the intersting thing is that he says that lessons should be learned from computer literacy and instead of making everyone technically expert, computers have got easier to understand. At this point you may disagree but I remember the early days of using computers when you had to use command language to interact with computers for most things. He also gives the example of the results of an MOT which are provided in simple terms that a layperson will understand.

He argues that healthcare professionals should stop using technical words such as those used in the lab that the patient / layperson is unlikely to understand. As he says

"It's not easy – peoples' knowledge and skill levels are not as obvious as a physical disability and this   unintentionally perpetuates the problem. In fact people often go to extraordinary lengths to hide their lack of understanding and as a result we consistently overestimate their abilities and knowledge.

But if we are going to crack this problem we need to spend less time trying to get our patients to understand us and more time trying to understand them. The issue is not the poor health literacy of patients but the low ‘lay literacy’ of us professionals."

I also think people need to have the skills to ask more questions and evaluate what they receive. Difficult I know in an health related emotive situation but helps if you have these skills and competencies to draw upon.



Scottish Government awards SLIC Digital Participation funding

Great news of SLIC's Digital Funding - see announcment below. Hopefully information literacy will play a key role in any of the digital initiatives.

"The Scottish Government has awarded the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) additional funding to support digital participation initiatives as part of the implementation of the national digital strategy.

SLIC will receive an additional £90,000 in the next two years to support two specific digital participation projects.

The first of these will see the creation of an online resource for directing users towards digital engagement opportunities and online learning sessions, such as the IT classes offered by libraries.

This project will be based on data collected during the highly successful BBC First Click campaign, combined with resources held by SLIC.

As part of the second project, libraries will be more deeply linked to the Scottish Government Digital Participation Action Group (DPAG) through the appointment of a dedicated coordinator, working between SLIC and the Scottish Government.

SLIC Company Secretary and interim CEO, Moira Methven, said: “SLIC is delighted that the integral role of public libraries in supporting the digital participation agenda has been recognised by the Scottish Government.

“Scotland’s public libraries have an established track record in offering digital engagement opportunities and in supporting our communities – even those groups considered hard to reach – to access technology, and to experience the benefits of going online.

“SLIC is looking forward to working with colleagues in the Scottish Government and in public libraries across the country to support the implementation of our national digital strategy.”

The Scottish Government published Scotland’s Digital Future – A Strategy for Scotland in March 2011, and a progress report was published in March 2012 laying out key actions for digital participation, which have libraries at the centre.

Work is currently underway on both SLIC projects and further details will be released shortly Scottish Government awards SLIC Digital Participation funding