The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) Lamar Soutter Library is excited about the launch of the AIDS Community Outreach Project, “Bringing HIV/AIDS Information to the Heart of the Commonwealth”. The project is a collaboration between the Lamar Soutter Library, AIDS Project Worcester (APW), and Worcester Public Library (WPL). The outreach project aims to improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS in Worcester and surrounding communities by increasing their knowledge of the disease through awareness and utilization of National Library of Medicine (NLM) HIV/AIDS resources through training, information outreach, and resource development. NLM resources include AIDSinfo, AIDSource, ClinicalTrials.gov, MedlinePlus, PubMed, and Public Health Partners.
The project includes building a training room at AIDS Project Worcester, train-the-trainer sessions conducted by the Lamar Soutter Library for AIDS Project Worcester and Worcester Public Library staff and volunteers, who will then provide training sessions as part of their outreach efforts. AIDS Project Worcester staff will train UMMS and Worcester Public Library staff on PrEP Navigator procedures in Central Massachusetts, then UMMS staff will train the partners on specific PrEP Navigator resources available through the NLM. Updates are planned to the AIDS Project Worcester website through a collaboration between project consultants and AIDS Project Worcester. The project also includes usability testing to better understand how APW staff, volunteers, clients, and the public use the website, along with a coordinated social media campaign to promote NLM resources and the services available from the project partners. In addition, Worcester Public Library will expand their collection of print and audio-visual resources to increase the quality and quantity of HIV/AIDS resources available to consumers in the Worcester area.
The “Bringing HIV/AIDS Information to the Heart of the Commonwealth” project improves the visibility of the services available from the collaborators and highlights the resources available to those living with HIV/AIDS, their families, caregivers, and at-risk populations in the Worcester area. The collaborators are very enthusiastic about the potential of helping clients and patrons get reliable HIV/AIDS information and the opportunity for them to learn computer and Internet searching skills, empowering both health care professionals and their patients. We are looking forward to the evaluation aspects of the project to hopefully support the successes of the project and provide lessons on areas for improvement in the future.