About Health Literacy

Health Literacy News & Highlights

January 8th Webinar: Health Literacy Begins at Your Library

In this webinar, learn how libraries in Oklahoma are growing community health literacy through programs for all ages.

Your library can play a central role in promoting the health and wellness of its community through fostering higher health literacy. This means increasing people’s capacity to obtain and understand basic health information that leads to appropriate health decisions and connection with services. Library programs directed toward children, teens, adults, and families deliver credible health information and activities that boost wellness. The Oklahoma Department of Libraries has fostered health literacy throughout the state, forging partnerships at state and local levels. Learn how one library in Miami, Oklahoma, made health literacy a central part of its operations, offering everything from diabetes prevention to yoga classes, as well healthy cooking demonstrations and even a community garden. Get ideas for simple (but powerful) health literacy programs you can offer at your library regardless of your size or budget.

This webinar is hosted in collaboration with Let’s Move in Libraries.

Presented by: Noah Lenstra, Let’s Move in Libraries, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Studies, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Leslie A. Gelders, Literacy Administrator, Oklahoma Literacy Resource Office, Oklahoma Department of Libraries; and Marcia Johnson, Library Director, Miami (OK) Public Library

Find out how to register.

StoryWalk® Coming to Anadarko

Anadarko LibraryState Representative David Perryman gives the Anadarko Community Library a $4000.00 check from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and Institute of Museum and Library Services which is paid for with State and Federal Funding.

Thanks to a health literacy grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Anadarko Community Library is proud to announce the new Storywalk® coming soon to Randlett Park.

See more about the Storywalk grand-opening event.


Health Literacy Grant FY18 Healthy Business Certification

Dean Kruithof, City Manager; Kim Horn, HR Director; Marcia Johnson, Library Director; Cindy Vanover, HR Specialist

City of Miami becomes Certified Healthy Business

Congratulations to the City of Miami! They have met the criteria to become a Certified Healthy Business. Certified Healthy Business recognizes business sites that make a positive impact on the health of employees and patrons. Your contribution in creating a healthy environment is important to the future of Oklahoma.

There are three levels of certification: Basic, Merit and Excellence.  City of Miami earned the Excellence certification!



Stillwater Public Library’s StoryWalk®

The Stillwater Public Library celebrated National Health Literacy Month with a groundbreaking for their StoryWalk® in the Park program. Funds for this project are provided by Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered through Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

“StoryWalk® in the Park is a way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time,” said Lynda Reynolds, library director. “The concept is simple. Place bright and engaging pages of a must-read picture book along a path and people will stop to read as they walk. Not only does it encourage walkers to read, but it also encourages readers to walk.”

The StoryWalk® will be completed and open for reading in March 2018. The City of Stillwater Parks and Recreation and Operations staff will be installing the posts around the walking trail that snakes through the park. See more on the story [….]

Stillwater StoryWalk

Jim Scott, City of Stillwater Parks and Rec
Alane Zannotti, City Council
Laura Shellhammer, Early Childhood Coalition
Cathy Albright, Library Board
Senator Tom Dugger
Wanda Cunningham, Library Board
Elizabeth Murray, Children’s Librarian
Robin Cornwell, Library Board
Kendra Smith, Payne County Health Dept.
Lynda Reynolds, Library Director

Hula Hoops are Not Just for Kids Anymore.

Hula HoopingExercise coach Kelsey Philo demonstrated using hula hoops as a low impact, fun way to exercise. Participants visited the Champion Public Library in Ardmore to learn a new way to exercise. “Hooping helps adults maintain spinal mobility as well as center of balance, not to mention a workout of core muscles,” said project director Pam Bean with Southern Oklahoma Library System. “This is just one way our health literacy program is encouraging community members to exercise, eat right, and enjoy life.” Hula hoop expert, Kelssy Philo (right), demonstrated extreme hooping to children at the Moore Public Library. She explained that hooping exercises the body and reading exercises the mind. The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


See the 2018-2019 Health Literacy Grant Recipients.

Background information

Medical symbols

Health Literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V

The American Medical Association Foundation has said poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of a person’s health than his age, socioeconomic status, education, or ethnicity.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, persons with limited literacy skills are more likely to have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma and are less likely to manage them effectively.

The Institute for Medicine’s Board of Neuroscience and Health has found that adults need basic health literacy skills to speak with medical professionals, access health information, follow dosage instructions, make informed health decisions, and to use medical tools for personal and family health care.

See Health Literacy Fact Sheet.

Helpful Health Literacy Websites and Other Resources

Plain Language Resources—National Institute for Health

Simply Put—A guide for creating easy-to-understand materials

Health Literacy Information—National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Florida Literacy Coalition—free health literacy curriculum

YouTube video featuring adults with low literacy skills, including Toni Cordell from Oklahoma (23 minutes)—American Medical Association Foundation

Health.gov— an essential resource for health information

MedlinePlus—accurate health information from the National Library of Medicine. The site contains information, tutorials, videos and more.

Health Profiles for Counties in Oklahoma—reports focus on health factors of the residents of each county


To contact staff of the Literacy Resource Office, use ODL’s Staff Contact Form or Department Contact Form.