From Augusta

Maine State Library launches Libraries Health Connect Program

Wed, 04/13/2022 - 1:15pm
Starting this spring, residents in 10 communities across Maine will have a new, convenient way to connect with a healthcare provider. The Maine State Library's "Libraries Health Connect Program" provides the technology and training needed for telehealth services through the public library. The State Library dedicated funds it received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to create the statewide telehealth initiative.

Participating libraries include Alice L. Pendleton Library (Islesboro), Caribou Public Library, Cary Library (Houlton), Fryeburg Public Library, Henry D. Moore Library (Steuben), Paris Public Library (South Paris), Peabody Memorial Library (Jonesport), Pittsfield Public Library, Skowhegan Free Public Library, and Thompson Free Library (Dover-Foxcroft).

Libraries were selected based on endemic community health issues and a lack of ready access to healthcare. Low-income and rural individuals as well as people of color disproportionally bear the costs of inadequate healthcare which also impacts the economic prospects of these individuals and their communities.

"Maines libraries are committed to ensuring their communities have access to equitable services," said Jamie Ritter, Maine State Librarian. "This means offering programs that you might not associate with your library, like telehealth. We strongly believe that where you live should not dictate the quality of your healthcare. These libraries are leading the way for establishing libraries as another way Mainers can connect with a healthcare provider."

Telehealth uses technology to provide access to real-time appointments with healthcare providers from a distance. Individuals who opt to receive telehealth care from their healthcare provider can now book the Telehealth Room at one of the participating libraries for their appointment. The library provides a private room equipped with a laptop, camera, computer, mouse, lights, headphones, and other technology relevant to telehealth needs. Services are provided at no cost to the community.

Types of care that can be provided through the Maine Libraries Health Connect Program include wellness visits, requesting or renewing prescriptions for medications, follow-up appointments, consultations with specialists, nutritional counseling, mental health counseling, and other non-urgent conditions.

"The Maine State Library recognizes that there is a need in Maine communities to provide better access to quality healthcare and this program helps address that need. Especially as the desire for virtual appointments has increased following the COVID-19 pandemic." stated Ritter.

Telehealth Rooms at participating libraries will be available for appointments by May of this year. For more information, contact, Marijke Visser, at the Maine State Library.

About the Maine State Library

Established in 1837, the Maine">">Maine State Library strives to help people, make Maine libraries stronger, and transform information into knowledge. The Maine State Library delivers services through three central programs: Public and Outreach Services, Collections and Digital Initiatives, and Library Development. The services provided by the Maine State Library are available to all Maine residents and are free of charge.

The ME Libraries Health Connect Pilot Program is supported by funds awarded to the Maine State Library by the federal Institute">">Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the agency that administers the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as part of the LSTA American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.