Reflections on a week of health information activity in partnership for Health Information Week 2022 in North Devon

Published on 22 September 2022, by Amy Bell-Worfell

Health literacy, Marketing and campaigns

Royal Devon University Healthcare Knowledge and Library Northern services worked in partnership with a variety of organisations including the public library in Barnstaple, Recovery Devon, Learn Devon, Vista wellbeing, Diabetes UK, One Small Step, and One Barnstaple network to provide a week of health information related activity as part of Health Information Week.

What and how we planned and what we did

Health Information Week is part of the Royal Devon University Healthcare Knowledge and Library Northern services (Royal Devon North KLS) marketing, outreach and promotion strategy and an ideal opportunity for partnership working with the public library services in Devon was identified.

Project meetings were held in person every few months with senior library supervisors and regular email contact for project updates and communication took place.

A plan was agreed that we would approach members of One Barnstaple Network to see if they would like to participate in a week of activity hosted by Barnstaple Library. The Librarian is part of the One Barnstaple network and used contacts, membership meetings and Groop to communicate the opportunity to take part to One Barnstaple member organisations. One Barnstaple website: One Barnstaple works to connect the community and towards “Better health, economic prosperity and high-quality living environment for Barnstaple residents”

A multi-channel promotion strategy was planned to use social media promotion on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Royal Devon North KLS website with specially created pages, pages in the Royal Devon North KLS regular monthly Newsletter, print media and notice boards and book/stock displays. We also added a themed resource area of 'Menopause' in response to community feedback in addition to the other themed resource areas already selected.

Barnstaple Library planned to use social media assets, logos and website material provided by Royal Devon North KLS and advertise via their established promotion networks.

Activities also planned to take part throughout the week in addition to the invited stall holders were: Information and resource sheets, Information display, Interactive games, Discussions with library staff, Book displays with health and wellbeing support, a rolling presentation of public library resources, services and events, and Smoothie Bike activity. Read more detail on activity that took place via our report:

Impact and feedback

The public library space acts as a place to connect and to just be for people where they feel comfortable and can see friendly faces. The library is a trusted place to access good quality information and seek support from staff and other trusted providers of information. They were an ideal partner to work with on this project as they are used to working in partnership with a variety of organisations and were very open to inviting people in to their library to deliver this activity. There was alraedy an exisiting relationship with the public library service but I would say approach your local public library and find out what opportunities that might be.

One Barnstaple was an ideally placed network to reach organisations that work within the health sector supporting the public with their health and health information. The network also has a health inequalities arm that perfectly fits with the library's offer around health literacy training and information as GPs and other health professionals are part of One Barnstaple and the wider One Northern Devon network.

The week was really good to be able to approach and informally chat to people about their health informally. The resources around the topic areas provided a starting point to have a conversation about health matters and talk about issues affecting them as individuals.

There was no in-depth demand from anyone attending for detailed medical information it was all very informal and much more about signposting to reliable sources of information and general discussions around health and wellbeing.

You can read more about snapshots of interactions in our report :

The organisations that took part and had a stall for the day all responded to say how much they had enjoyed being a part of the activity and felt that it was worthwhile. 

Recovery Devon representative: 'The interactions I had were quite meaningful. I think that is what these kind of events are about - not how many people that stop by to chat, but how just one conversation can change someone's day or maybe even their life.'
Vista Wellbeing: 'High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke, and the symptoms can go undetected, so it’s important to know what yours is. Of the 15 people we checked, two had high readings that they were unaware of. We have recommended that they have further checks at their GP practice. It is important to note that a single high measurement does not lead to a diagnosis of hypertension or treatment, and a health professional will usually want to monitor it over time.'

You can read more in our report: 

We also monitored our social media and website interaction stats and found that the 'Menopause' social media posts were in the top 3 posts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can find more detail on these stats in our report:



What worked well: 

  • the partnership working and communication with the different organisations and One Barnstaple worked well
  • a prominent location in library foyer for the activity with good book displays and rolling display the library created
  • good opportunities to talk to people informally about health information - the library is a trusted provider of information and the initiative about reliable health information fit well
  • nice atmosphere that felt comfortable for people to talk
  • the request to add the health subject 'Menopause' to the themes worked well as that was one of the most popular website pages and social media posts
  • resource sheets and themes were good
  • people responded to the interactive element of the display well; and
  • the quality of interaction with people was good, people who stopped spent time talking. It felt like they took away something for the interaction.

Even better if:

  • there could have been more footfall
  • more prominent promotion of the week's activity in the library during the week
  • if circumstances and staffing had allowed it would have been good to attend some of the library group events in the afternoon and talk to them all
  • there could have been more interactive activity as part of the display as the response was good to the interactivity that there was
  • there had been more assets for public library to use to advertise activity during the week; and
  • there could have been more time to talk to people in depth but as one stall holder said in feedback that, 'One conversation can change someone's day or maybe even their life.'


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