What roles do Chinese health sciences libraries play in their nation's cigarette smoking public health crisis?

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Objectives: Cigarette smoking remains a major cause of death in China. Are health sciences libraries in China currently providing awareness, advocacy, or research support for the societal benefits of smoking reduction? Methods: Following institutional review board approval, Library contacts for Chinese schools of medicine, public health, and pharmacy were identified. A bilingual online survey was constructed to obtain respondents' demographic detail and answers to questions about library resources and services that constitute academic awareness, advocacy, curriculum, or research support about tobacco and smoking. Results: 43% of reporting librarians work on a smoke-free campus. 100% of all reporting libraries work in smoke-free libraries, though 6% of the reporting libraries offer a smoking room for staff. All reporting libraries contain printed material on the dangers of smoking. Student requests for materials or acquisition recommendations are infrequent. More than 60% of the librarians report medical residents occasionally ask for tobacco-related literature. Nearly 60% of librarians reported faculty occasionally ask for materials about smoking. More than 60% of instructors were reported to occasionally ask for database searches about cigarettes or tobacco. 33% of librarians reported creating a collection guide about smoking. 15% of reporting libraries hosted a traveling exhibit on smoking. Conclusion: Some Chinese health sciences libraries are providing public health information and collaborating with faculty and students to support the reduction of smoking and tobacco use. Anecdotal statements collected from survey participants confirms their awareness of the educational and advocacy roles librarians play in their country's smoking crisis.

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Library Philosophy and Practice

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