A grant for health

MARSHALL – If you want to know more about a certain topic, your computer would be an obvious resource. But often the first website that pops up in your search engine might not be the best source of information, especially for a health-related topic.

How do you wade through all the information that’s available these days? One good source would be the Marshall-Lyon County Library.

Librarians know reliable research methods in general and now the library will have more up-to-date reference materials thanks to a Blue Cross/Blue Shield grant. MLCL is one of only four libraries in Minnesota that has received grants of up to $50,000.

The Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation grant’s purpose is to “engage public libraries as partners to improve health” through “community initiatives that move toward achieving health equity.” In other words the Blue Cross Foundation grant wants to make health information more accessible to everyone.

In addition to answering research questions and having more reference books, Candace Thomas, the coordinator of the new library program, will reach out to various groups to spread the word about the opportunity at the library to be more health literate.

Thomas, a librarian and teacher, will coordinate the project at the Marshall-Lyon County Library which is called “Find HEALTH.” HEALTH is an acronym for “helping everyone access literacy tools for health.”

“Find HEALTH” will include programs in which health experts will give presentations and answer questions. The first of these programs is Saturday at the library.

“We’re going to launch our program ‘find HEALTH’ Saturday with a special program,” Thomas said.

The event is called “Flu and You!” and will be at noon in the Community Room at the library. Dr. Jane Hartman of Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center will discuss “Taking Care of Yourself in Cold and Flu Season.” Attendees will learn more about: Viruses that cause colds and flu,

strategies to prevent the spread of flu,

caring for people who are ill and

knowing when to seek medical help.

The library will complement the work that the area medical community is doing to educate its stakeholders, Holly Martin Huffman, director of the Marshall-Lyon County Library, said.

“We want to bring in medical experts to present information,” she said. “We don’t give medical advice, but having medical partners is essential. This is another avenue in partnership with a medical provider.”

Both Martin Huffman and Thomas are excited about the program, which is in its beginning stages. Thomas said she would like to get feedback from community members on what they would find helpful.

To offer suggestions or for more information, contact: CandaceT@MarshallLyonLibrary.org or call the library at 507-537-7003.

Thomas said she also wants to work on “sustainability” for the program so it can continue after the grant period is over.

“We want to work with local agencies and organizations and keep it going,” she said.