Consumer Health Reference Interviews Blog post 1 – due January 9th @ 11:59pm


Read:  Thomas, Deborah A. “The Consumer Health Reference Interview.”  Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 5(2).  Web.

Respond:  What consumer health reference interview challenges does the author identify?  What are some of the solutions to the challenges?

Post a screen capture of your completed Consumer Health Reference Interview Game.


The consumer health reference interview challenges that the Author, Deborah A. Thomas, identifies is that The initial question a patron asks is not always what the patron really wants to know (Thomas, page 48, 2006) when they have a medical question. When patrons find out devastating health news about themselves or their love ones, they are going to become experts of that information by going to the library to find the information they required. Reference librarians need to be aware that the type of questions that he/she going to ask, are not the typically reference questions – where can I find information on coffee, these questions are going to be very sensitive and very unfamiliar to them- “I need to find information on Alopecia Areata?” The reference librarian should make eye contact, let the he/she speak without interruptions, clarify the patron question to understand clearly what they are looking for and most importantly recommend varies formats of information (Prints – periodicals, scholarly journal articles, websites, encyclopedia’s (Medical dictionaries, online databases and other information formats).  The reference librarian can offer information to a physician(s), referral service and/or to free health clinics in the area (Thomas, page 51, 2006). Librarians need to remember that they draw the line where that they can only provide the information and references to their question, not medical advice- Some librarians may not be familiar with medical termiology and diagoised the patron. If the patron still seems not to fully understand the information being provided, the librarian can provide list of recommendations of where they can get answers from an health provider (physician, health clinic, hospital).



Work cited

Thomas, Deborah A. “The Consumer Health Reference Interview.” Journal of Hospital Librarianship 5.2 (2005): 45-56. Print.


About Librarian information and Tech at Durham

Librarian Information and Tech
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