The Role of Libraries in Providing Health Information for Society. Jane Burns

The Role of Libraries in Providing Health Information for Society. Jane Burns

This paper will examine the role of libraries in providing Health Information for Society in particular using materials from the emerging area of Graphic Medicine.


Graphic Medicine has a unique purpose for libraries in that graphic medicine represents the intersection between a variety of formats and healthcare. Graphic medicine refers to the use of graphic novels, comics and visual storytelling in medical education, patient care, personal health awareness and support primarily but there are other applications related to healthcare and the life sciences.

(Green,et.al 2010) identified that health care professionals and health librarians in particular those engaged with public health, with young people or with non- native speakers are using graphic stories for patient care and education.

The field of Graphic Medicine has continued to grow in popularity and size as new work is published and new applications for the work are explored. The International Comics and Medicine Conference meets annually, gathering clinicians, academics, health carers, artists, authors, and fans of comics and medicine.

For libraries the engagement and development of Graphic Medicine collections represents the provision and enlightenment of these information resources. Developing a Graphic Medicine collection presents opportunities to have a multi modal and multi-platform resource as Graphic Medicine is a new area of scholarship. Graphic Medicine is a combination of scholarly essays with visual narratives that are represented in comic from. This addition to a collection offer patients, family members, and medical caregivers new ways to negotiate the challenges of medical and health experiences. 

Green, Michael J., & Myers, Kimberly R. (2010). Graphic medicine: Use of comics in medical education and patient care.  British Medical Journal, 340(7746), 574.


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