Human Rights Based Approach to Development

This post on Librarians and Human Rights blog caught my eye. It reminds me of conversations I’ve had with folks who are working in economic or health development, and who didn’t agree with the priority I was giving to education and access to information in human development. They looked at Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, and seeing hunger and health as the first problems to tackle over illiteracy and poor education.

Community Asset Mapping

I’ve been reading Sondra Cuban’s Serving New Immigrant Communities in the Library and came across a section on community and cultural asset mapping. Long used in the development field as a community building tool, it identifies the strengths in a community by mapping its assets in terms of people, things, services, and resources. The Corporation for National and Community Service has a workbook you can order on how to do this. There are dozens of books written on this subject. I’m looking now for more resources and examples of it being done by libraries.

Healthy minds … knowledge is power … format is power

I recently attended a conference in Tucson on health information which you can read about at BlogJunction.

I’ve been thinking about format lately. What is the best way to share information? Stories are an important vehicle for knowledge transmission – sometimes there is more to learn from a story than from a bulleted list of facts. The key thing you learn from a story is a piece of information’s “relevance” – or you could say even “moral value”.

So I thought of this when I reflected on several stories I had heard over the weekend. These were stories about the use of Medline Plus in Spanish, in how it had been used by community health outreach workers, promotoras, in border towns in Arizona and Texas, to enrich their knowledge and the information they could give to the Spanish speakers they were serving.  The presenter told some stories of the use of Medline Plus being used to give information about a life-saving surgical procedure to a man whose anxiety was so high about it, he was considering not getting it.  Once he understood, and had more information, he decided to get the procedure done.  It illustrates not just that information about health care has useful information, but that it is an important and necessary component of the health care system, especially a system that many times can only give 15 minutes per patient.

After hours of presentations on various health websites, and the resources they offered, it was this story that helped me, someone not involved in the health care field except as a patient, understand the moral value and relevance of free, authoritative health information.  It also

I’ll be linking to the video of the conference as soon as it is available so stay tuned.