The Free Library is Here for You During Health Literacy Month!

By Kate C. RSS Thu, October 11, 2018

Medical information changes rapidly with new research, and when new information is delivered to you during a stressful medical appointment, it can be tough to remember everything you were told. Differing levels of education; access to resources; and factors such as age, language, and cultural differences can all affect a person’s health literacy skills.

October is Health Literacy Month, a month dedicated to helping people find, understand, evaluate, communicate, and use health information to make informed decisions. Take some time this month to use the Free Library to improve your own health literacy, so you can help yourself and others!

Here are just a few ways you can do that:

Reaching HEALthy program is an initiative that seeks to establish the Free Library as an essential healthcare resource for the community, bringing health literacy programs, health counseling and referrals, and preventive health services to the Parkway Central Library. Nurses are stationed in the lobby most weekdays to offer blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, as well as to offer health counseling and referrals when appropriate.

Reaching HEALthy also partners with the Free Library’s staff of social workers to host Coffee Chats on Monday afternoons. Held in Room 108 in the Parkway Central Library, these chats provide a space for patrons who are in transition to share and receive resources on housing, employment, and healthcare. These chats often include partnerships with community organizations such as Broad Street Ministry, Project HOME, Office of Homeless Services, and BenePhilly.

A Free Library partnership with Lankenau Medical Center includes monthly presentations on health & wellness at Overbrook Park Library (1st Tuesday), Haddington Library (2nd Tuesday), and Wynnefield Library (3rd Wednesday), with topics ranging from managing stress to hygiene to sun safety.




Use the online resources on our website, such as our Health Explore Topic and free online Health databases, such as Medline Plus.




Visit the South Philadelphia Library and speak with our Community Health Librarian to help you get your questions answered.


Check out health equipment from our Health Lending Library in South Philly, or check out books and DVDs about health.





To improve your cooking skills and knowledge of healthy eating, check out a class at our Culinary Literacy Center. They’ve even shared a health recipe, which you can find below.




If you’re in West Philadelphia, check out the Free Library’s health corners, which give patrons a private space to look up health information, with a variety of print resources, a computer, printer, and online access.


Teens can get involved with Get HYPE Philly! programs that focus on health promotion and positive youth development.





Interested in jump-starting your path to good health with a tasty and nutritious recipe? Try this, straight from our Culinary Literacy Center! Let us know in the comments how it turned out!

Be well!

Citrus Salad with Toasted Almonds*

Oranges are abundant and are often on sale at the grocery store at this time of year. Create this salad with a mix of orange types for a colorful presentation.

  • Makes 4 servings
  • Nutrition information (per serving) 105 calories; 14g Carbohydrate with 3g dietary fiber; 5g fat with 1g saturated fat; 2g protein.


  • 2 oranges, preferably a mix of cara cara, naval or blood oranges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 5 oz. bag of mixed baby greens, such as romaine, red radicchio, arugula
  • 2 tablespoons almond slivers, toasted


Zest one orange.  Cut off the ends of both oranges and squeeze ends, reserving one tablespoon of the juice. Peel and remove pith from both oranges and slice. Lightly toast the almond slivers in a dry pan.

To make the salad dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, orange juice and zest.

When ready to serve, toss greens with the dressing.  Arrange orange slices on serving plates.  Top with the salad greens, and scatter toasted nuts on top.

*This recipe was created by Registered Dietician Kathleen Mathis of Reimagining Nutrition for the Culinary Literacy Center’s Heart Healthy Cooking Classes, which were offered in the neighborhood libraries as part of the Good Food for All program series. Additional programming with Kathleen is forthcoming this spring, so stay tuned!

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