Archive for the 'General' Category

Zika Virus: What We Know, What We Don’t Know

The Zika virus has been around for decades, but only recently has gotten the attention of the U.S. with the rapid spread of the virus in the Western Hemisphere. The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection with mostly mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes – many will never even know they were infected. While mosquito seasons vary across the U.S., they often come with warming temperatures around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and with summer underway, many areas are now addressing ways to prepare for increased exposure to mosquitoes.

Spread of the Zika virus in the United States thus far has been limited to travel-associated cases, 591 as of May 25, 2016. While the majority of transmissions occur through the bite of an infected female Aedes species mosquito (only females bite humans), the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus, through sexual contact with an infected male, and through blood transfusions. Transmission from mother to fetus is especially troublesome because it can cause microcephaly – babies are born with unusually small heads and brains that have not developed properly, and other birth defects.

Because sexual transmission seems tied to the Zika virus’s presence in infected males’ semen, proper condom use or not having sex are prevention measures. It’s not known if an infected woman can transmit the virus through sexual contact, or if it can be passed through vaginal fluids or salvia. For women trying to get pregnant, it’s now recommended waiting at least 8 weeks before trying to conceive if they or their partner live in or are returning from Zika infected areas.

While there have been no confirmed blood transfusion-transmission in the U.S., there have been several confirmed cases in Brazil.

Consumer/Patient Education Resources

If you know of a great resource, let me know and I will add it! Please feel free to share or reuse this post.

Dana Abbey, MLS[i]  dana.abbey@ucdenver.edu

[i] Funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012344 with the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

Health Insurance Literacy

Health insurance is not only one of the costliest products a consumer will purchase, with an average health insurance marketplace price tag of $386 per month for an individual, it is also one of the most complex products to understand. Many people think they have the skills and knowledge to select and utilize their health insurance, but the evidence shows otherwise. Some examples:

  • A 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 37% of enrollees did not know the amount of their deductible, and 46% thought they were getting a subsidy though it was actually 85%.
  • Three out of 4 people in a 2013 survey by the American Institutes of Research stated confidence in their knowledge of health insurance, but only 20% could calculate the out-of-pocket cost for a visit with an in-network doctor.
  • A 2014 report from the Urban Institute noted that nearly 50% of adults reporting limited literacy and low numeracy skills, with income below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), had difficulty locating information to help them support their insurance plan choices.

This lack of literacy can prove detrimental to the consumer if they select a plan that doesn’t provided needed benefits or puts them at financial risk. The concept of “health insurance literacy” is fairly new, and while there is no official definition it has been described as “the degree to which individuals have the knowledge, ability, and confidence to find and evaluate information about health plans, select the best plan for their financial and health circumstances, and use the plan once enrolled.” Another key issue not addressed in this definition is the ability of the consumer to retain insurance coverage over time.

In 2014, the American Institutes of Research reported on their work to develop a measure of health insurance literacy. They created a conceptual model containing four domains: Knowledge, Information Seeking, Document Literacy, and Cognitive Skills. Each domain presents a number of facets that might prove difficult for a consumer to understand, but could also be used as a tool for those developing information for consumers, or those assisting consumers navigate the health insurance landscape.

Resources for those assisting consumers/patients

Resources for consumers/patients

  • Get free help applying, selecting a plan and enrolling in your area at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/#intro.
  • FairHealth.org. Numerous healthcare decision-support tools to help individuals understand healthcare costs.
  • HealthCare.gov. Resources for selecting or changing a plan, plan categories, determining the total cost of care, and understanding the different kinds of plans.
  • MedlinePlus: Health Insurance. Resources to assist consumers understand and select insurance, includes patient handouts. Many in Spanish.

If you know of a great resource, let me know and I will add it! Please feel free to share or reuse this post.

Dana Abbey, MLS[i] dana.abbey@ucdenver.edu

[i] Funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012344 with the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.

Reflections of CALCON15

Posted on behalf of Sarah Greenberg, Director of Library Resources, Grand County Library District

CSLLogo-CMYK-VAs libraries expand with streaming video, 3-D printers, and makerspaces, some of us with shrinking budgets and limited space are feeling left behind. Fortunately, CALCON 2015 opened my eyes to some of the small and inexpensive things we can do at our libraries to open doors for our patrons. Things like offering healthy snacks to help feed our kids who might be growing up hungry. Or making sure that all staff know how to handle basic tech questions, so patrons feel comfortable asking anyone for help with an eBook. Even weeding your collection to maintain a reputation for currency and reliability can help to build a relationship of trust between a library and its patrons.

One of my favorite sessions, presented by Lindsay Roberts and Andrea Reveley, discussed how to obtain and make use of patron feedback. My library already has a guest book at each branch, which has been a wonderful source of (largely positive) patron thoughts and comments. Roberts and Reveley suggested using a “Sorry Log” to track patron complaints, noting that this method allows you to tally the number of complaints about different services or areas. They used the example of students requesting double-sided printing, circulation desk staff noting these in the “sorry log,” and the tech department realizing the extent of the requests and implementing a change. And this change began with a simple paper and pencil! Continue reading ‘Reflections of CALCON15’

MY CALCON15 Experience

Posted on behalf of Sharon Bassist, Colorado State Library CALCON Scholarship Recipient CSLLogo-CMYK-V

Hello! I am Sharon Bassist, the new Program Coordinator for the Clear Creek County Library District; Idaho Springs and Georgetown for those of you unfamiliar with the area. I was one of the Colorado State Library CALCON 2015 Small/Rural Library Scholarship recipients! Because I was honored with a scholarship, I get the opportunity to write my first blog post, so if this is not your normal post, that would be why! This is also my first CALCON as I am new to the library field. I have all sorts of new opportunities with my new job and I love it!

I really enjoyed my CALCON experience! The keynote speakers were very enjoyable. Ryan Warner from CPR and Salvador Avila were my favorites. Who knew that learning to be a DJ could be incorporated with STEM programs and offered after school at the library?? That is thinking outside the box at its most creative, SO COOL!!!

I was able to take full advantage of the conference and really did learn so much. My favorite session was “Walk This Way: Taking Storytime Out of the Library.” StoryWalk was an entirely new concept to me and I am planning on bringing it to life in our county. Having libraries in two different towns grants me the opportunity to execute this idea in different forums. I am also excited to incorporate it with the Wellness theme for the Summer Reading Program for 2016. We are small mountain towns and can offer this walk/storytime as a hike around the waterfall, a walk down the main streets with the stories in store fronts and on a walk from the library to the local park. I did attend many different sessions, but this one was the most memorable and one that I feel I have the opportunity to bring to life in our county.

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to go to CALCON and learn about the wonderful world of libraries. I hope to be able to attend this conference again in the future to continue my love for learning and creating. Who knows, if this blog goes well, you may hear from me again when I get my StoryWalk into place!

Colorado State Library Scholarships Available for PLA 2016!

CSLLogo-CMYK-VThe Colorado State Library is pleased to announce that we are offering four (4) PLA 2016 conference registration scholarships! Our goal is to develop leaders within the Colorado library community by helping library staff who might not otherwise be able to attend the 2016 PLA Conference in Denver April 7 – 9, 2016.

Anyone who is a CAL or PLA member currently working in a public library in Colorado, and not already registered for the conference is eligible to apply.  Because we are looking to develop leaders throughout the library community, there are no requirements for minimum or maximum work experience.

For more information and details on how to apply, check out our scholarship information on the Library Creation & Learning Centers website!

Mark your calendar for RIPL 2016!

ripl_logoAre you…

… a public librarian, administrator, or other staff interested in getting started using data for savvy and strategic planning?

… looking for both inspiration and instruction in a hands-on, participatory environment?

… seeking to learn about outcomes and how to measure library impact?

… committed to leading your organization in making data-based decisions?

…eager to develop a peer network  to support your research and evaluation efforts?

Launched in 2015, the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) brings together people from across the country (rural, suburban, and urban public libraries) for an intensive, participatory learning experience. Offered by the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Consortium, this year’s institute will take place September 30-October 3, 2016 in Denver, CO. Participants will learn about topics such as:

  • designing outcome-based evaluation of programs and services
  • assessing the needs of your community
  • techniques for tracking public library data and using these data for planning, management, and proving worth to your community
  • using data and stories to demonstrate library impact
  • aligning research efforts with national initiatives such as Edge Benchmarks, the Impact Survey, and Project Outcome

Mark your calendar! Enrollment opens January 26, 2016 – and only 100 participants will take part in this immersive learning experience.

Find out more at http://ripl.lrs.org/

The 2015 Legislative Blue Book is Now Available in Audio

CSLLogo-CMYK-VThanks to the efforts of the staff and volunteers at the Colorado Talking Book Library, the Colorado Legislative Blue Book is now available as an MP3. You can also access a PDF version of the Blue Book on the Colorado Talking Book website as well.

The Colorado State Library CALCON15 Scholarship Recipients!

The Colorado State Library is Pleased to Announce our CALCON15 Scholarships! CSLLogo-CMYK-V

Please join us in congratulating Sharon Bassist, Program Coordinator at the Clear Creek County Library District; Charlene Blakeley, Director of the Kiowa County Public Library District; and Sarah Greenberg, Director of Library Resources at the Grand County Library District and MLS student at Emporia State University!

 

 

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Partner Survey

Posted on behalf of Gene Hainer

The implementation team with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is seeking input from partners via a survey located here on what to consider as the state’s WIOA plan is developed. Should take 1-3 minutes. Public libraries and community colleges are potential partners because of resources, programming, and training provided to job seekers or adult learners.

See this webinar for details on WIOA and libraries. One area to consider reinforcing in the survey comments is if WIOA funds to the state could be applied to a statewide license for things like Learning Express, or similar tools that could be made available to all libraries and residents to assist with career and job training.

Be a part of the #RIPLeffect: Come to our PLA preconference!

ripl_logoDid you miss out on the inaugural Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) this past summer? Well, now’s your chance to be a part of the #RIPLeffect. RIPL instructors will be offering a full day preconference at PLA 2016 in Denver: Think, Do, Show: Practical Techniques for Analyzing, Using, and Visualizing Data to Improve Practice and Demonstrate Impact.

Learn more about the PLA Preconference!