Dataset for: Impact of a Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) Sponsorship Program on Ability of Public Library Staff to Provide Consumer Health Information


Objective: In 2018, the Network of the National Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) launched a national sponsorship program to support U.S. public library staff in completing the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS). The primary objective of this research project was to determine if completion of the sponsored specialization was successful in improving public library staff ability to provide consumer health information and whether it resulted in new services, programming, or outreach activities at public libraries. Secondary objectives of this research were to determine motivation for and benefits of the specialization and to determine the impact on sponsorship on obtaining and continuing the specialization. Methods: To evaluate the sponsorship program, we developed and administered a 16-question online survey via REDCap in August 2019 to 224 public library staff that were sponsored during the first year of the program. We measured confidence and competence in providing consumer health information using questions aligned with the eight Core Competencies for Providing Consumer Health Information Services [1]. Additionally, the survey included questions about new consumer health information activities at public libraries, public library staff motivation to obtain the specialization, and whether it led to immediate career gains. To determine the overall value of the NNLM sponsorship, we measured whether funding made it more likely for participants to complete or continue the specialization. Results: Overall, 136 participants (61%) responded to the survey. Our findings indicated that the program was a success: over 80% of participants reported an increase in core consumer health competencies, with a statistically significant improvement in mean competency scores after completing the specialization. Ninety percent of participants have continued their engagement with NNLM, and over half offered new health information programs and services at their public library. All respondents indicated that completing the specialization met their expectations, but few reported immediate career gains. While over half of participants planned to renew the specialization or obtain the more advanced, Level II specialization, 72% indicated they would not continue without the NNLM sponsorship. Conclusion: Findings indicate that NNLM sponsorship of the CHIS specialization was successful in increasing the ability of public library staff to provide health information to their community.

This dataset represents the de-identified raw results of a 16-question, online survey (via REDCap) collected in August 2019 to 224 public library staff who were sponsored for a Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS). The purpose of the study was to determine whether the sponsorship program had an impact on public library staff to provide consumer health information.

Last modified
  • 02/05/2021
Date created
  • United States, , United States
Resource type