These days, libraries offer a much wider range of services than just free books and tables to do research at. However, at one Maryland library, you can read a book — and then get a health screening, which is a bit like researching your own health.
The screenings happen every Monday at the Greenbelt Library in Prince George’s County, and are conducted by nursing students.
The library has a blood pressure clinic, connects patrons to community resources like vaccine clinics and hosts health education discussions, according to Sara Chapman, a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.
“We do some exercise and some meditation. And we also provide primary care referrals to people that might be in need of them,” Chapman said.
It’s modeled after a similar program that began at a library in Baltimore City, which proved to be a huge success.
“The benefit to the community is they get an opportunity to sit down with a nursing student one-on-one and talk about their health. We’re focused on blood pressure, but we also talk to them about the importance of flu vaccines, we’re giving information about the new COVID booster, the availability for seniors to get the RSV shot,” said Chapman. “We can also talk to them about some other health care needs and provide resources.”
The students get something out of it, too.
“It provides them with an out-of-hospital experience,” said Chapman. “Most of the nursing students, their clinical experience is in the hospital, providing primary care in an acute care setting. So this is an opportunity for them to practice their nursing skills out in the community.”
This program will run on Mondays through Nov. 13 in Greenbelt, from 11 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. It then pauses until the spring semester begins. The nurses there are students, after all, and they’re getting credit for their community and public health nursing class.
And while you wouldn’t think that sitting at a hallway table and getting your blood pressure checked is a typical library activity, the hope is that this can be expanded beyond the Greenbelt branch to other libraries around the county.
Quemar Rhoden, the central area director with the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, said his team is “always trying to be more dynamic with our program offerings” while keeping the community’s needs in mind.
“The library is much more than books. It’s a place where people gather,” Rhoden said. “The community really trusts us. They trust us with some very personal matters, and it’s always our goal to offer more services that meet their needs.”Leave a comment