Finding Credible Health Information Online: Riley’s Librarian Shares Smart Strategies

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"As a librarian it is my goal to make sure our guests receive the most accurate information."

Every day, patients come to Riley Hospital for Children to receive amazing care. For some, the experience can be overwhelming, especially when striving to fully understand all of the nuances that can come with a visit—diseases, drugs, tests and procedures.

That’s where I can help. My name is Dena Vincent—and for the last 14 years, I have worked as the librarian of Riley’s Edward A. Block Family Library. In addition to being a librarian, I have been specifically trained to help patients and their families better understand health information. The library and I are always here and happy to partner with you to help you and your family make informed decisions based on your individual needs. One of the things I love most about my job is helping families find the materials they need to make their experience at Riley a satisfying one.  

As a librarian it is my goal to make sure our guests receive the most accurate information.  Today, there are so many sources of information however, not every resource is equal. It’s important to note that you should also always talk with your doctor to make sure the information you have found applies to your child’s specific case.

The Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley features access to over 295 credible web sites that can be opened from an online catalog or via mobile app called “Library Trek.”  The library also offers over 140 brochures that are listed in the catalog, each containing support and medical information, many with links to the actual brochure.   

To access the catalog from the app, users can download “Library Trek” to their mobile device and directly connect to the Riley Block Family Library.  Users can search the catalog without having an ID or password.   However, as an inpatient you may request an ID and password to put things on hold from your room.  If there is a volunteer available the library will deliver your items to you.

The library checks the information on brochures and websites approximately every 6 months to make sure we have the most up to date information available.

In addition to the brochures and websites the library has several support books for the caregiver and patient.  Medical information is usually considered out of date five years after its publishing date. For that reason, Riley Library has decided to provide medical information from credible online resources.  Two sites the library recommends are:

If you would like to do research outside of the resources above make sure the information you are accessing is credible.  Credible information has gone through the checks that can be found on these two websites.   

If you would like help with your research please come to the library or simply call 317-944-1149. As a librarian, I am credentialed to assist and always happy to help. 

Our library is here for patients and families of Riley Hospital for Children.  We offer a relaxing place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital.  The library is located within the 1924 entrance/lobby of the hospital and is open 9 am to 5 pm Monday – Friday.  We warmly invite you to come and visit us soon.

-- By Dena Vincent, MLS

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