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December 9, 2009 > Washington Hospital's Health Resource Library Offers Free Screenings and More

Washington Hospital's Health Resource Library Offers Free Screenings and More

The Community Health Resource Library at Washington Hospital is more than just a resource for a great collection of books on topics ranging from strokes and cancer to nutrition and eating disorders. The library also is known for providing consumer-friendly health resources such as videos and DVDs on a wide range of healthcare topics, as well as magazines and Internet access. The library's newest consumer-friendly resource, however, is Operations Coordinator Lucy Castillo.

Although she joined the library staff recently in September, Castillo has been with Washington Hospital for eight years. She also has many years of experience as an active community volunteer.

"This job gives me the opportunity to incorporate everything I learned while working in Information Services and skills developed through volunteering in the community," Castillo explains. "It also allows me to continue my passion as an advocate for community involvement. We provide vital health information to people from throughout our community, not only here at the library, but also through various outreach programs that bring information and services directly to the people."

Among the many outreach programs conducted by the library is a hand-hygiene education program for elementary schools. The program is intended primarily for first and second graders, but materials for older children are available, too.

"With all of the recent concern over the flu, it is a valuable service to go out to the schools and teach children the proper techniques for hand washing to prevent the spread of disease," Castillo explains. "The goal is to help children understand how germs are spread, and what they can do to reduce their chance of infection."

Another important program available is the ongoing offering of bone-density (osteoporosis) screenings in the library. Additionally, the library has a self-service blood pressure screening station, which also calculates the person's height and weight to determine their body mass index (BMI). "The blood pressure and BMI screening can be a great tool for those who will resolve to lose weight after the holidays," Castillo notes.

People in the community also are encouraged to take advantage of the library's drop-off box for proper disposal of unused and/or expired medications. "Dropping off unused medications here helps to keep them from ending up in landfills or the sewage treatment system, which is harmful to the environment," Castillo explains.

"We are always open to working with community-based organizations to schedule group events for video presentations, discussions of health topics and health screenings," she adds. "We also welcome suggestions from the public as to what materials would be good additions to enhance our collection. One of our goals this coming year is to improve our collection of materials for caregivers, to help make their lives easier."

In the coming year, Castillo hopes to reinstate a free monthly story hour on various health topics for children from 4 to 8 years old, as well as to develop a summer reading program for older children.

Castillo is responsible for coordinating the daily operations of the library, coordinating the efforts of numerous library volunteers, matching their responsibilities to their talents. "I have a great staff of volunteers," she says. "They help me not only in maintaining the library, but also in helping to prepare our materials for outside presentations."

With over 600 visitors each month, the library is always in need of volunteers, Castillo notes. Training for volunteers is provided on a regular basis.

To become a member of the library so you can check out books, DVDs, and videos simply go to the library - located on the first floor of the Washington West building at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont - and fill out a library card application. Members must be 16 years old or older and have a California driver's license, California driver's permit or official California ID card.

The library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Osteoporosis and blood pressure screenings are available from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To get more information about the hand-hygiene education program for elementary schools, or to request a presentation, call (510) 494-7009.

For more information about the library and its services, call (510) 494-7030, or visit the Washington Hospital Web site at, click on the "For Our Community" tab and look for the link to the Community Health Resource Library. For information about volunteering at the library, call the Service League at (510) 791-3465.

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