Guidance and resources for knowledge and library services (KLS) staff about furthering health literacy.

Selection of books
Health Information Week - a selection of self-help books
Health Information Week

Health Information Week has been taking place in July, but it is transferring to the 3rd full week of January, with the next Health Information Week 19-26th January 2025

To prepare for Health information week 2025, you could consider:

  • holding a pop-up library somewhere in your organisation
  • contacting your local public library – they may have an event that you could join, or you can take this opportunity to suggest doing a joint event, e.g. run health information searching tutorials, promote the training resources. 
  • exploring the social media resources
  • contacting public health or health promotion staff and hold a health and well-being event for staff and public for example, smoking cessation, healthy eating
  • promoting reading groups or initiatives like the Your Health Collection
  • joining in with the twitter campaign using #HIW2025

Don’t forget to have a look at the Health Information Week evaluations page for a list of resources to review your event/s.

Quality information for the public

These tools can be used when networking with public libraries about running health information services.

They are also useful for health information queries from members of the public, for further information on how to deal with these see:

NHS.UK – Quality evidence-based information designed and supported by the NHS for members of the public. See our guidance on searching the site.

Patient – A trusted source of information for both patients and health professionals nationwide. The site contains over 4000 health information leaflets, a wellbeing centre, a free health check and discussion forums.

PIF TICK – from the Patient Information Forum (PIF), a UK-wide quality mark for health information. It covers leaflets, websites, apps and videos. A PIF TICK organisation must show its health information production process meets 10 criteria. – Find information and support for a range of health issues from seeing and hearing people’s real life experiences. Thousands of people have shared their experiences on film to help you understand what it’s really like to have a health condition such as breast cancer or arthritis.

Easy Health – health information in easy read and other accessible formats.

Contact a Family – Information and support on many rare disorders written by doctors.

UpToDate – Free public access to Beyond the Basics patient information articles written and reviewed by medical professionals. – To find government services and information including benefits, council services, policies, employment etc.

Lab Tests Online – Information to help patients understand the many clinical laboratory tests that are used in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease.

Health Tools– the NHS website has a selection of health apps, podcasts etc.

Open Access resources for non-NHS staff are also valuable assets. 

Health libraries

CILIP: the library and information association's Health Libraries Group.

Health Education England.

Knowledge for Healthcare (KfH) – a development framework for NHS library and knowledge services in England.

Find local NHS library and knowledge services.

Public libraries

CILIP’s Public and mobile libraries special interest group.

Libraries Connected - Libraries Connected have four Universal Library Offers which aim to connect communities, improve wellbeing, and promote equality through learning, literacy and cultural activity.

Libraries shaping the future: good practice toolkit– show how libraries as a statutory service and a core part of community hubs, contribute to local and national priorities.

Reading Well Books on Prescription.

Bookmark your Library – provided by The Combined Regions, The Arts Council England, from OCLC, The Society of Chief Librarians, and The Reading Agency. To help promote the services of libraries around the country.

Engaging Libraries Project - Carnegie UK Trust and Wolfson Foundation are working in partnership to support a five year project called Engaging Libraries. The project supports public libraries to run public engagement activities on research within the themes of health, society and culture.

Keeping up with your network

HP-Resources – Discussion List for Health Promotion Libraries and Resource Services- Email list for everyone working in the field of health promotion to discuss topics of interest to their profession.

LIS-PUBLICHEALTH – a new discussion list for UK knowledge, library and information professionals working in Public Health; to enable members to share knowledge, learning and experience.

Bibliotherapy Discussion Group– A mailing list for anyone interested in the links between reading fiction and non-fiction and health. Bibliotherapy, including Books on Prescription, reading groups, self-help etc.

CHAIN – Contact, Help, Advice and Information Network – is an online international network for people working in health and social care. For more information on CHAIN and joining the network please visit website.

Twitter – Follow @NHSKFH for all discussions around the national NHS Knowledge and Library Services team. 

Quality of information

PIF TICK – UK-wide quality mark for health information. It covers leaflets, websites, apps and videos. A PIF TICK organisation must show its health information production process meets 10 criteria.

Accessible Information Standard – briefing for health librarians and knowledge service managers and includes a Resources page with useful training resources etc.

DISCERN – a brief questionnaire which provides users with a valid and reliable way of assessing the quality of written information on treatment choices for a health problem.

Recent research

Research on health literacy published in last 3 years additional to "Health information: are you getting your message across?" and including any info on research trials currently underway on any aspects of health literacy inc. scales/measurement tools to use.

See the evidence search summary conducted by the NHSE Knowledge Management Team.

Health information: are you getting your message across? was published by the National Institite for Health and Care Research (NIHR) in Health and Social Care Services Research in 2022.

Other useful links

NHS England Equality Hub.

Department of Health (2012) Liberating the NHS - No decision about me without me.

Royal College of Physicians (2014) Health Literacy - Report from an RCGP-led health literacy workshop.

The Self Care Forum is a charity which aims to further the reach of self care and embed it into everyday life.

Patient Information Forum (PIF) – The UK’s largest membership organisation for people working in health information. You can download case studies reports, ‘how to’ guides and much more for free.

Patient engagement hub for pharmacy teams – The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has launched a Patient engagement hub to encourage pharmacy teams to engage more with patients, carers and the public.

The hub is a collection of resources that have already been developed and used by pharmacy teams to speak directly to patients, carers and the public.

Making Every Contact Count (MECC) – a suite of resources and tools to support the public health campaign aimed at staff across the sectors.

Coalition for Collaborative Care – Brings together people, including people with long-term conditions, and organisations from across the health, social care and voluntary sectors.

DH Health and Social Care Publications Orderline – Free leaflets and posters etc. for the public.

Health Awareness Events Calendar.

Good Things Foundation – A charity that supports digitally and socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital.

The Patient Experience Library – an overview of the UK’s combined knowledge of patient experience.

Page last reviewed: 3 November 2023