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Style Magazine

Infomation is Good Medicine

Feb 03, 2011 04:43AM ● By Style

Photo by Dante Fontana

Read any good books lately? Better yet, have you read any books that are good for you?

If you answered no – or even if you answered yes – it’s time to visit the Marshall Community Health Library. Most people who do are pleasantly surprised and say they wish they had discovered it sooner. Visitors will find a treasure trove of resources about health, fitness, nutrition, medical conditions and treatments, and much more. The resources are diverse in topic and varied in form, from books, medical journals and DVDs, to cookbooks and Spanish-language materials. Library patrons can also get referrals and access the Internet to view health-related Web sites. Best of all, it’s free!

Librarian Alison Clement oversees the library’s activities and its growing collection of health information. She has been instrumental in helping the library evolve from a hopeful vision to shelves upon shelves of materials. Her hard work has paid off in duplicate: by seeing the library become a reality, and with the reward of giving back to the community.

“The library is such a satisfying place to work, because everyone who comes in always leaves feeling better than when they arrived,” says Clement. “That extra bit of medical information we can provide helps to reassure, and takes away the fear of the unknown. We try to make the library a cozy place, so everyone feels comfortable.”

All discussions are confidential, and the library only gives out information that comes from reliable sources, which also puts people more at ease. Clement also points out that the library assists patients and providers alike. “Our purpose is to help people communicate better with their health care providers,” she explains. “It’s important to be well prepared for your appointments and have good questions to ask your doctor. We do research for physicians and the Marshall Medical Center staff as well.”

The library obtains new resources through grants from the Marshall Foundation for Community Health and other agencies. “We are very grateful for them,” says Clement. “And we love our volunteers – I am lucky to have a team of 10 dedicated people who are very good at what they do.”

The volunteers work within their own areas of expertise to provide health information and also derive great satisfaction from their time at the library. “There is really no place like it in El Dorado County,” says volunteer Valerie Olson, whose forté is research. “The library does a wonderful job of conveying information to those who are underserved and who need more help understanding their health issues.” Olson also assists local college students with research for class projects.

Dawn Estes signed up for the library’s volunteer program after her first visit. “I really enjoy being at the library, not only for my own personal growth, but to help others,” she enthuses. “There is joy, relief and hope as our patrons find the books they are looking for.”
Come in and see for yourself how the Marshall Community Health Library lives up to its motto: “Information is Good Medicine.”

For more information, visit and click on ‘Health Links.’