You feel an ache here, a pain there. Your kid is sick. Worse yet, you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a serious illness.
It can be tempting to jump online and seek help from “Dr. Google,” but Mary Jean Jakubowski has a better idea.
Reach out to your local library.
“People think they can find anything they need to know on the internet,” said Jakubowski, director of the 37-branch Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System. “Google is a great search engine but some of the stuff you hit on when you put in a topic may not be good information. The library can help people understand what is good information and what is not good information.”
The system has a Health and Medicine section under the Research tab on its website, buffalolib.org, and librarians can help those who call the system Helpline, 858-8900, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday find reliable health-related information and resources.
Branches also plan related talks, workshops and events year round – the biggest of which will take place next week at the Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square.
Thrive, a free health fair for older adults, will feature about 40 companies, agencies, organizations and college programs offering health information. Blood pressure, bone density and hearing screenings will be offered, as well as health food demonstrations courtesy of Eat Smart New York.
The fourth annual health fair runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. It is free and open to all, even though it will be geared toward older adults.
Schedule highlights will include:
Tai chi demonstration: The Taoist Tai Chi Society will show visitors the gentle practice of tai chi, designed to boost flexibility and ease stress. Those in attendance also will then have a chance to participate. This starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Main Hall
Medicare and You: The Erie County Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program will host this workshop at 11:15 a.m. in the library Conference Room.
Hustle for Health: All are invited to participate in a line dance aerobic event at 11:30 a.m. in the Main Hall.
Making Your Medical Wishes Known: The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care and the Erie County Medical Center Palliative Care Team will host this workshop at 12:15 p.m. in the Conference Room.
Following the health fair, those who wish can take a guided tour of the temporary exhibit “Buffalo Never Fails: The Queen City and World War I,” in the Exhibit Gallery.
“To bring all of this under one roof, our roof, we think is a very important community service,” Jakubowski said.
Joy Testa Cinquino, library assistant deputy director for development and communications, said senior centers and groups who plan to send members to the health fair in buses or vans should call the Helpline so library staff can coordinate parking and getting visitors to the right spots in the library.
As with the case with its online resources, library staff turned to trusted sources of information to help with the health fair, including Renee Masters, an outreach librarian who also is a registered nurse.
“We’re thrilled to have a librarian on staff who has a health care background,” Jakubowski said. “This is right in her wheelhouse.”