Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

Stanford Health Library

When you want to know more

Fall 2007

Play eases the anxiety of Bernard Dannenberg's young patient.

Health Library volunteer Susan Taishoff helps an on-site visitor.

Health information is widely available on the Internet. “Google” any ailment, and you’re likely to receive thousands of links to medical wisdom, all espousing the truth about your particular illness or injury. But what information can you actually trust? How do you know the Web site you find is legitimate, accurate and current?

One way to ensure the safety and accuracy of your health information search is to start with the Stanford Health Library’s Web site—healthlibrary.stanford.edu. This virtual branch of the Stanford Health Library has more than 17,000 reviewed links to free scientifically based medical information on the Internet, a large selection of health videos, and over 850 full-text health and medical books available for use.

“Stanford provides a trustworthy service to navigate health information on the Internet,” said Nora Cain, director of the Stanford Health Library. “Everything on the Web site has been reviewed and is scientifically based.”

The Stanford Health Library also has three physical locations to serve medical consumers. The main branch, located at the Stanford Shopping Center, has been in existence since 1989.

Open to the public six days a week, the library is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, filled with an extensive collection of books, medical manuals and journals, health letters and periodicals. A second branch is located in Stanford Hospital, offering a convenient resource for hospitalized patients and their families. The third branch is located in the Stanford Cancer Center; it contains information on all health-related subjects, as well as a collection specifically focused to meet the needs of cancer patients.

The Stanford Health Library boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of consumer health information and the largest collection of Chinese-language consumer health information in the country. Each location is overseen by a medical librarian and is staffed by specially trained volunteers who can help patrons navigate the resources to find what they need. The library staff is also available by phone: They will conduct comprehensive medical searches and send out information to individuals who are unable to come into a branch, completely free of charge.

“Our objective is to give away as much good information as we can to people who need it, when they need it,” said Cain. “Today, patients are expected to be active participants in their own health care. The Health Library is here to give them the information they need when they have to make a decision about their health.”

The Stanford Health Library serves more than 10,000 walk-in patrons annually among its three branches, and receives between 1 million and 2 million visits per month on its Web site.

As part of its mission to inform, the Stanford Health Library offers a series of community education talks on relevant health topics, all presented by Stanford physicians and researchers. (See events listings here )

Did you know?

Stanford Health Library offers more than 17,000 reviewed Web sites of scientifically based health information.

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