HW: Local medical libraries help you learn about you

Director Steve Rauch restocks books in the Community Hospital Library which is open to the public

Secondary Photo Director Steve Rauch in the periodical section of the library.

Journals, books and magazines filled with valuable information line the walls of Community Hospital’s health library

The same is true of health libraries at St. Mary’s Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. All three libraries are open to the public, in addition to being open to patients and employees at those facilities.

Some residents know the libraries are there, others may be surprised to learn that each hospital has a library dedicated to helping the public answer health-related questions.

“Medical terminology can be so dense,” said Steven Rauch, Community Hospital’s medical librarian. “What your doctor or nurse tells you, you may not understand.”

The libraries exist to help people better understand any health condition they or a loved one may have. Physicians, nurses or medical students rotating through the hospital also use the library for, among other reasons, gathering the most up-to-date information on a condition they may have heard of but never seen.

Rauch said Community does not keep many back issues of magazines or journals because information in the health care industry is constantly changing. New drugs are consistently approved. New clinical trials are always starting. Advances in technology or in treatment happen all the time.

Health-related information is ready available, but people need to be mindful of where they are going to get it, said Mark McKenney, St. Mary’s medical librarian.

All three libraries have access to electronic databases and the Internet. Having a professional point out safe Web sites or guide a person through the jungle of health care information often can be helpful and safer, McKenney said.

The rules and regulations at each medical library are different. For specific hours and guidelines on what’s available its best to visit the hospitals.


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