Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation: Home

Library Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation

Launch an Online Public Education Campaign at Your Library

Health misinformation is harmful to our communities. Misinformation includes false, inaccurate, or misleading claims about diseases, illnesses, potential treatments and cures, vaccines, diets, cosmetic procedures, and other health issues. The spread of misinformation can lead to misunderstandings. People might make decisions with harmful consequences, such as using unproven and dangerous treatments. Read more about health misinformation at SurgeonGeneral.gov/HealthMisinformation.

Libraries can help stop the spread of health misinformation by launching an online public education campaign in local communities. Raising awareness of this problem and proactively promoting health information literacy can build a healthier information environment for everyone. Training people to check if health claims are credible and pointing them to reliable sources of health information are simple and impactful ways to build community members’ resilience to health misinformation.

Our toolkit provides educational content for you to adapt and share through your library’s social media, website, public displays, and events for an online campaign to address health misinformation.

How to Use This Toolkit

Goal of this toolkit

This toolkit helps library workers launch an online public education campaign to address health misinformation with community members and promote reliable sources of health information.

The toolkit provides educational content for you to share on your library’s digital communication channels or to print copies and hand them out.

The educational content covers skills connected to health misinformation resilience. The skills are:

  • Protect yourself from health misinformation
  • Check if health-related content is credible
  • Find reliable sources of health information
  • Help stop the spread of health misinformation

What types of content are in this toolkit?

This toolkit has three types of content that should be used together. 


The content includes:

  • Fact sheets to share on your website, display in your library, or distribute at public events
  • Sample messaging to post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and websites to encourage community members to read the fact sheets
  • Videos that summarize the fact sheets to share on your library’s social media and website

The fact sheets are available in 10 languages, and the sample messaging is written in English and Spanish. The videos are in English.

Who is this toolkit for?

We created this toolkit for library workers serving communities in public, academic, and school library settings. 

Various partners participating in health literacy and health communications may also find this toolkit helpful.

Adapting and sharing the content is encouraged

We encourage you to creatively share, re-use, revise, and build upon the toolkit materials.

Please follow our Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License terms when adapting and sharing the toolkit content.

Fact Sheets for Sharing With Your Community

Some ways to share the fact sheets are:

  • Upload the fact sheets to your library’s website
  • Share a link to the fact sheets on the Avoid Health Misinformation guide by San Diego Circuit
  • Print copies to display at your library or distribute at public events
  • Customize the fact sheet using our Canva template and make a version that fits your community. The fact sheets were made in Canva, a free-to-use online graphic design tool. Learn more about how to use Canva.

We recommend you first share the Protect Yourself From Health Misinformation fact sheet to introduce the topic. You can share the other fact sheets in any order you choose.

Sample Messaging and Images for Social Media

Encourage community members to read the fact sheets. Choose from sample messaging to post on your library’s social media and online channels. Or be inspired to write your material.

English and Spanish-language sample messaging is available.

Make changes to the sample messaging to fit your community and library. It's essential that you:

  • Replace the #StopMisinformationSD campaign hashtag if your library serves communities outside San Diego County, California. Use a different hashtag that is specific to your community.
  • Replace the short link if you’re sharing a customized fact sheet or a copy on your library’s website.

Protect Yourself From Health Misinformation

Check if Health-Related Content Is Credible

How to Find Reliable Sources of Health Information

Help Stop the Spread of Health Misinformation

Video Summaries of the Fact Sheets

Share with your community these videos that summarize the fact sheets. 

You could embed the videos on your library’s social media accounts or website.

Protect Yourself From Health Misinformation: Video


Check if Health-Related Content Is Credible: Video


How to Find Reliable Sources of Health Information: Video


Help Stop the Spread of Health Misinformation: Video


Launching an Online Campaign

We share these suggestions for launching an online public education campaign in your community.

Perform two key activities in your campaign

Activity 1: Share the fact sheets with community members.

You have a choice in the ways to share the fact sheets.
Activity 2: Encourage community members to read the fact sheets through promotions on your library’s communication channels.

Choose from sample messaging or videos to post on your website, newsletters, blogs, or social media accounts.

Make changes to the content if your library serves communities outside San Diego County

Our educational content describes health and library services available to San Diego County, California, community members. These services may not apply to your community.

Add descriptions of your regional library and health services to the fact sheets and sample messaging.

In particular, use our Canva template to add your local services to the How to Find Reliable Sources of Health Information fact sheet.

Remove references to San Diego County services if your community doesn’t have access to them.

Use a campaign hashtag to increase visibility and track your content

Use a hashtag – like #StopMisinformationX, where X is a placeholder for an abbreviation of your community’s name. 

Consider using #StopMisinformationSD if your library serves communities in San Diego County, California.

Consider adding hashtags that are relevant to your community or library. Example hashtags are:

#HealthLiteracy
#HealthMisinformation
#Infodemic (WHO)
#Misinformation
#PledgetoPause (UN and Purpose)
#SaludTues (Salud America!)
#TakeCareBeforeYouShare (UNESCO)

Find more hashtags to use by searching your keywords on a social media platform and scanning the posts for frequently-used hashtags.

Use social listening and monitoring tools to track online discussions and trends around your campaign hashtag. Learn more about social listening tools from the CDC.

Coordinate your campaign on a schedule or with partners

Try conducting your campaign on a schedule, such as weekly posts during special periods like Health Literacy Month or National Medical Librarians Month.

Share social media posts from organizations also working to stop health misinformation. These organizations include:

Responding to questions from community members

Share links to credible resources when responding to questions from community members about health misinformation.

Refer community members to health care providers and services if they seek medical advice. Learn more about best practices for handling health reference questions.

Respectfully address any negative messages you receive about your campaign in a gentle, professional tone.

Learn more about launching a campaign

Watch the following video for an introduction to using this toolkit.

Download the PDF version of this presentation.

If you are a library worker and have questions about the toolkit not answered by our video, please email the Advisory Team of the San Diego Health Information Partnership.

Learn the foundations of organizing a campaign for health communication through these resources:

(Optional) Share your feedback on this toolkit

Please fill out this form if you plan to use this toolkit to launch an online campaign at your library or organization.

Submitting this form is optional.

We request your contact information to share any updates on the toolkit and to ask for feedback on your experiences with the toolkit.

Resources for Addressing Health Misinformation 

You can link to these resources to help spread the word about stopping health misinformation.

Office of the Surgeon General

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Health & Human Services Agency - County of San Diego (HHSA)

World Health Organization (WHO)

About the Toolkit Development

This toolkit was developed by the San Diego Health Information Partnership, a collaborative team of public and academic library workers led by the San Diego Circuit consortium. The toolkit development was funded by an NNLM Region 5 Outreach and Engagement Award.

Our educational content is written based on the recommendations and instructional modules by the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the World Health Organization (WHO). These materials include:

We express our thanks and appreciation to these organizations for the permission to share and adapt the content.

Our educational content is directed at the general public, and we aimed to write the materials for an 8th-grade reading level or lower.

How to Cite This Toolkit

San Diego Circuit. (2023, February 10). Library Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation. https://libguides.sdsu.edu/library-toolkit-addressing-health-misinformation.

Acknowledgments

Project Team

This toolkit was made by the San Diego Health Information Partnership sponsored by San Diego Circuit:

  • Erik Mitchell, Audrey Geisel University Librarian, UC San Diego Library (Project lead)
  • Jeffery Loo, Clinical Librarian, UC San Diego Library (Project manager, designer, and grant writer)
  • Melissa Abernathy, Head of Reference, Katherine M. and George M. Pardee Jr. Legal Research Center, University of San Diego
  • Oscar Gittemeier, Program Manager, Division of Innovation and Community Engagement, San Diego Public Library
  • Margaret Henderson, Health Sciences Librarian, San Diego State University Library
  • Tricia Lantzy, Health Sciences and Human Services Librarian, CSUSM University Library
  • Karen O'Grady, Nursing Librarian, Helen K. and James S. Copley Library, University of San Diego
  • Melissa Solis, Outreach/Community Engagement Manager, San Diego County Library

We thank the support of:

Network of the National Library of Medicine Region 5

  • Cathy Burroughs, Executive Director
  • Emily Hamstra, Assistant Director
  • Carolyn Martin, Outreach and Education Coordinator

Communications & Engagement Program, UC San Diego Library

  • Nikki Kolupailo, Program Director
  • April Green, Communications Manager
  • Akshita Goswami
  • Andrew Caballero

Business & Finance Program, UC San Diego Library

  • Daniel Ibarra, Financial Analyst

NIH Acknowledgment 

Developed resources reported in this toolkit are supported by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health under cooperative agreement number UG4LM013725. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Last Reviewed: February 10, 2023