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Library's Mental Health & Wellness Series Receives State Honors

Press Contact: Suzanne M. Thinnes
Communications Manager
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
412-688-8609 (fax)
412-491-6889 (cell)

For Immediate Release

(PITTSBURGH, PA - March 30, 2006) - The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) announced that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is the 2006 Pennsylvania state winner of the NCLIS Health Information Awards for Libraries for their unique Mental Health & Wellness series. Held in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, the Library's free lecture series focuses on understanding depression and promoting mental health awareness.

"There continues to be a stigma surrounding mental health issues," said Karen Rossi, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Librarian who managed the program. "The Library's Mental Health & Wellness Lecture Series improves the community's health literacy by providing information for an often overlooked topic. By facilitating conversations people begin to think of health issues in different ways."

Presented by renowned experts in their respective field, each Health & Wellness lecture utilizes medical knowledge to educate on the symptoms of depression, as well as inspire customers to seek assistance if they or a family member is at risk. In 2005, the series' five unique lectures focused on traditionally underserved populations by focusing on seniors, teens, parents in need and new mothers. Due to overwhelming support for the program, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is planning to resume the series in October during National Depression Awareness Month and build upon its mental health theme with an emphasis placed on lifestyle improvement.

The NCLIS Awards are designed to encourage library programs that address one or more of the following: dietary choices; exercise; smoking cessation; alcohol and/or drug abuse prevention or cessation; immunizations and health screenings; and improved health literacy, that is, the ability to understand and make use of health information. In each state, a panel of judges selected the state winners based on how ell the program encouraged lifestyle improvement among the target populations, the program's adaptability, collaboration with other community organizations and how successfully the program was able to reach out to people with low information literacy skills.

About Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: "Free to the People" since 1895
Through its Main Library and network of neighborhood locations, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh serves the dynamic and diverse information needs of people living in Western Pennsylvania. The Library is a vital community anchor that provides universal access to literature, culture, art, music, history, business and technology.