COVID-19 update: Some services and programs are suspended due to COVID-19. Contact the HLLC by phone or e-mail if you have questions.
Healthy Living and Learning Center
The Healthy Living and Learning Center is here to help answer any health questions you might have!
- Are you taking your medicines correctly?
- Do you need help understanding a disease like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer?
- Have you wanted help with monitoring your blood pressure or weight?
- Have you wanted tips on getting and staying healthy?
Have you ever been confused by all the health information in the news and on the computer?
It is not the Center’s role to offer health advice, but to help you understand important things about your health so that you and your health care professional can work as a team to make you the healthiest person possible. Let us help you and your family be healthier with answers you can trust!
To provide access to accurate and reliable health information to all citizens of Petersburg and the surrounding areas
To increase health literacy by providing access to tailored health information through a collaborative network of global partners
The services provided by the Center have the potential to alleviate health problems associated with low health literacy among residents
What is the Healthy Living and Learning Center?
What is Health Literacy?
“Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2000. Healthy People 2010)
Health literacy affects people’s ability to know when to go to the doctor or to the emergency room, how to fill out complicated forms, how to find a doctor, and how to take care of themselves or manage chronic disease.
Programs and Services
The HLLC provides a consistent, familiar place where community members can go to obtain accurate and reliable health information (not health advice) and connect to local resources. The Center is staffed with specially trained partners, volunteers, and interns trained as Consumer Health Information Specialists who can provide quality health information directly to the public both at the Center and through community outreach.
Located in the Market at PPL, the HLLC provides the following services:
- One-on-one sessions with trained staff during posted operating hours
- Access to a CHIS trained library staff member from 9 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday) and Center resources during all library hours
- Health related reference books, on-site DVDs, streaming videos, reliable websites, and brochures (many available in both English and Spanish)
- Connections with local resources such as free health classes, screenings, support groups, and health insurance enrollment
- Free blood pressure checks available upon request from 9 am-5 pm Monday through Friday
- Free condoms provided by Serenity Inc.
- Health related activities and exercise classes (Yoga, Sit and Be Fit, Caldwell’s Chair Dance, Fit It In, and Tai Chi)
- Outreach through its Mobile Express
The Massey Cancer Center of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Crater Health District of the Virginia Department of Health, and the Petersburg Public Library are the three primary partners for the Healthy Living and Learning Center and representatives from these agencies comprise the HLLC Leadership Team.
In 2011, the annual community health rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation were released, naming Petersburg the unhealthiest locality in Virginia. As a step towards addressing Petersburg’s severe health issues, the Massey Cancer Center of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) asked the Crater Health District (CHD) of the Virginia Department of Health and the Petersburg Public Library (PPL) in 2012 about the possibility of creating “a central location to obtain information about cancer (chronic disease) resources and screening services.” Since people already think of libraries as places to get information, the library was a natural location for specialized health information services.
The Library also created the Wellness Activity to serve as home to several free fitness and meditation programs that support the health of the community.
Funding for the Center has been generously provided by The Cameron Foundation, The National Library of Medicine, Sports Backers of Richmond, the Petersburg Wellness Consortium Oral Health Engagement Project, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the Petersburg High Options Partnership Program (PHOPs) Each of the primary partners also provides generous in-kind support.