ISSN 1535-7821
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Vol. 20 No. 4 2004 

Link to ArticleNotes from the Chair  

Link to ArticleMessage from the Chair, Eris Weaver

Link to ArticleArticles

Link to ArticleSpanish Language (Consumer) Health Collection Development

Link to ArticleConsumer Health EN ESPAÑOL

Link to ArticleMLA’s Leadership and Management Section: The Benefits of Membership

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Link to Article2005 Drug Identifier

Link to ArticleAmerican Medical Association Family Medical Guide, 4th ed.

Link to ArticleSaidoff, David & Stuart Apfel; The Healthy Body Handbook: A Total Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Sports Injuries

Link to ArticleDavis, Amelia; My Story:  A Photographic Essay on Life with Multiple Sclerosis

Link to ArticleNonprescription Drug Therapy: Guiding Patient Self-Care, 3rd ed.

Link to ArticleMadaras, Lynda; Ready, Set, Grow!  A “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Younger Girls. 

Link to ArticleSzymanski, Marianne M. & Ellen Neuborne; Toy Tips: a Parent's Essential Guide from America's Leading Toy Expert

Link to ArticleYour Complete Guide to Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Link to ArticleEttinger, Alan B. & Deborah M. Weisbrot; The Essential Patient Handbook: Getting the Health Care You Need from Doctors Who Know.

Link to ArticlePublication Information

Link to ArticleSubmissions

Link to ArticleAdvertising


Notes from the Chair

Message from the Chair

By Eris Weaver

The New Year is an opportunity for many of us to reflect on the past year and set goals for the next.  The gyms, smoking cessation, and weight loss programs are all full this month with folks who have resolved to improve their health. Other resolutions may concern personal relationships or professional development.

My big resolution for 2005 was to make some major changes in my work life. To that end, I have resigned from my position at the Redwood Health Library despite the fact that I do not as yet have another job lined up. I don't know if I'll continue in consumer health or if I'll even land in anything resembling a library; I do know that I needed to clear out the old space in order to allow something new to enter.  I've never done anything like this before, and it's frightening and exhilarating in equal measure.

If your New Year's Resolutions include professional development goals, why not consider participating on a CAPHIS committee? If you've never attended an MLA annual meeting before, make 2005 your first! Start making travel plans now so you can take advantage of the amazing section programs, CE courses, and networking opportunities this event offers. 

At the very least, resolve to participate in your section by voting for CAPHIS officers - you should be receiving a ballot in the first week of February.  The ballot mailing will also include a proposal that is one of CAPHIS's resolutions for the new year: to update our bylaws to fit with our current practices and to move toward election practices that will make voting easier. Watch for it.


Spanish Language (Consumer) Health Collection Development

Collection development is considered by many practicing librarians one of the more enjoyable tasks we get to perform. To keep our collections current and responsive we have to continually adapt what we purchase to meet the needs of constant demographic shifts in our communities. For many librarians, one of the more challenging tasks in responding to this demographic shift is collecting health material in non-English  languages. Finding quality web sites is usually not difficult, and with the inclusion of Spanish language material in Medlineplus and NOAH, we have access to web sites for one language we can trust. Web sites are great, but often do not offer the medium the patron requires or is comfortable with, and web sites, alas, do not offer the depth of information required nor do they answer many of the daily questions asked by our patrons. We need to purchase printed material in non-English languages that provide answers to the diverse questions we all receive daily. Two nationally recognized librarians in the area of foreign language consumer health collection development and reference services, Barbara Bibel, reference librarian/consumer health information specialist in the Science/Business/Social Science/ Government Documents Department of the main library at Oakland Public Library in California and Kristine Alpi, manager of the Public Health Library at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, are interviewed by Howard Fuller and provide answers that will hopefully help you in developing this special collection. In our interview we focus on selecting Spanish language material.

Howard Fuller: In what languages, besides English, do you collect health material?

Kristine Alpi: The Public Health Library collects health materials in many languages, primarily Spanish, but also Haitian Creole, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Arabic depending on the topic and the available languages.  The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)  produces its core materials in English, Chinese and Spanish, and translates brochures and additional materials into other languages depending on the topic and the population that needs access to the information. For example, the citywide “Take Care New York” program bulletin appears in Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Chinese and Russian, while materials on SARS are also available in Vietnamese.  The “Cover Your Cough” brochures will appear in thirteen languages.

Barbara Bibel: I collect in French, Russian, and Spanish. Our Asian branch collects in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Khmer, Laotian, and Tagalog.

HF: What formats (books, DVD’s, newsletters) do you find of most interest to your Spanish speaking patrons?

KA: Videotapes and brochures are the most requested formats for Spanish-speaking audiences that the Library lends or provides to community-based organizations (CBOs).  One CBO has requested Spanish-language DVDs, but the Library has only just begun to acquire DVDs in English and currently does not have any in Spanish.  One concern in purchasing DVDs in other languages is to ensure the DVDs can be played by US machines, which is not always the case with imported DVDs. The Spanish language newsletters and books do not circulate and are infrequently used in the library.  Most of the Library’s materials in other languages are on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health or environmental health.  

BB: Books are the most popular, but videos, both VHS and DVD format, also circulate well.

HF: What are some of your primary concerns when reviewing and selecting non-English language material that you don’t have to be as concerned about when purchasing English language material?

KA: In order to best evaluate non-English materials, the Library staff members seek to purchase or obtain bilingual materials or the English equivalents.  The educators using library resources often ask for the English version.  Members of the Library staff have reading knowledge of Spanish and other Romance languages, but many of the materials needed are not in these languages. With both print publications and videos, we evaluate the technical quality of the item and consider the pictures and format for cultural applicability/audience even when we don’t understand the language.  Cultural accessibility and readability is also part of the assessment of English-language publications. The source of the materials is highly important in assessing the orientation of the material’s message. We also look for date of publication.  Although we have not done this in the past, the library could contact the Department’s Office of Cross-Cultural Communications to identify staff who read the language of the material being considered. 

BB: It is very important to make sure that the information is current and from a reliable source. When considering works translated from English, be sure to check all of the bibliographic and copyright information. Publishers producing these translations do not always have rights for the latest edition of a work, so you could be getting out-of-date material. It is also important to look at the illustrations. If they are all pictures of happy, blue-eyed blonds, your community may not relate to them. Another issue is language. If a work is from Spain and written in formal Castilian Spanish, your patrons from Mexico, Central or South America, or the Caribbean will not be comfortable with it.

HF: Do you have any favorite publishers and/or distributors you find provide consistently good content?

KA: The videos and materials produced by community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations are popular with library users, but are generally not available through traditional distributors.  Many state, federal and non-governmental organizations produce health-related videos and brochures in other languages.  For Spanish, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health ( offers videos, kits and brochures on topics such as colorectal cancer, HIV/AIDS and immunizations.   Barbara Bibel has created a list of distributors that provide materials in other languages and “Críticas” offers a list of distributors for Spanish materials. 

Visiting the exhibits at a large national health meeting such as the American Public Health Association has been a valuable way to obtain free consumer health materials in a variety of languages and formats. Since the Library does not have a large budget for consumer materials, staff members spend a significant amount of energy identifying free or low-cost videos and brochures from organizations distributing free materials. It is also important to see what materials have been developed or purchased by other programs of your organization trying to reach the same audience.  For example, the Library’s collection includes videos on Hepatitis C and pregnancy in Spanish that were produced by the NYC DOHMH. 

BB: Diana and Planeta produce good books. Several American publishers, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and McGraw-Hill have also introduced Spanish-language lines. Two distributors who work with libraries and offer excellent service and selections are Nerissa Moran of Books on Wings, who is now affiliated with Brodart, and Michael Shapiro of Libros Sin Fronteras. For material in Russian and other Slavic languages, Szwede Slavic Books in Redwood City, California, has an excellent selection and very helpful, knowledgeable staff.

HF: What Spanish language review resources do you find most useful? What comparable resources do you use for other non-English languages?

KA: Both Barbara Bibel and I have written articles on collecting Spanish health materials for “Critícas” which occasionally reviews Spanish-language health books and videos.  In New York City, it’s easy to visit bookstores that have significant collections of health books in Spanish to review in person.  If you are not located near a Spanish-language bookstore, it will be important to find a vendor with a liberal return policy or staff that can provide support.  As a member of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an affiliate of the American Library Association (, I have found the REFORMA discussion list offers opportunities to discuss resources with colleagues and includes announcements of new resources.  I also receive the Spanish language announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   The web site at has a sign-up form.

BB: For Spanish-language materials, “Criticas” and REFORMA offer reviews of current works. The reviews are in English, so librarians who do not read Spanish will find them useful. It is hard to find reviews for materials in other languages.  Each issue of “Booklist” has a column devoted to a different language, but it does not have reviews. It is an annotated bibliography of current books and rarely contains health or medical items.

HF: What type, if any, local community resources have you found useful for collection development? Has your non-English language community resources/network translated into other services or outreach activity? Are you planning or hoping to plan and implement other activities that may involve your non-English speaking patrons and/or your non-English language collection?

KA: The NYC DOHMH Office of Cross-Cultural Communications has been a helpful partner in identifying materials in other languages.  The NYC Department of City Planning provides data on languages spoken in NYC.  The Library lends videos to community-based organizations and provides publications in other languages to a wide variety of organizations who distribute them to their clients and at community events.  Library staff distributes material in other languages at community health fairs and other events.  The training provided by the Library is currently in English, but also mentions the availability of materials in other languages. 

BB: Visiting local bookstores that carry Spanish-language material is very useful. One can buy off the shelf and know exactly what one is getting. It also gives you a sense of what the community is reading. We will be doing some programs on health topics such as diabetes which will include teaching about library resources.

HF: For someone with little or no experience in collecting foreign language material, what might you consider to be a few words of wisdom?

KA: Start with a small number of items that you feel will be used based on previous requests for materials.  In a hospital setting, the nurses or patient educators can likely comment on what they have received as requests for materials in other languages from patients or their families.  Check census data for your local demographics. The Modern Language Association web site ( provides language statistics by ZIP code. Ask your administrators or community liaisons which languages are being requested for interpretation services.  Then promote the materials to those in your organization who work with those who would benefit from the materials.  Developing partnerships with the state and local health departments will open up new sources of materials developed with your community in mind.

In the library, identify staff or volunteers who have interest or skill in other languages and cultures and involve them in your collection development.  Be sure that there is an “I speak” sign in the library to assist patrons in knowing that you can help them and know the procedures for accessing interpreters.  Shelving materials by language with appropriate signage in that language will showcase the resources and reach out to those library users who might not find items integrated in the regular collection.  Be sure to indicate the availability of the English language version for those colleagues who would like to review the material before providing the other language version to a patient or consumer.  And always keep the lines of communication with your community open so you are in the loop as their information needs evolve.

BB: Buying materials in a language that you do not know is difficult. Do not hesitate to ask a staff member who knows the language to help you. S/he can go with you when you buy and provide some translation so you know what you are getting. Working with a distributor who knows the language and has a sense of the market is also a good option. Attending book fairs such as Feria Internacional del Libro in Guadalajara will allow you to see the very latest materials and buy them at a good price. If you cannot go, work with a distributor like Nerissa or Michael (they always attend). Tell them what you need and how much you can afford to spend and they will choose good items for you.

For Further Information:

1. The 2001 Consumer Connections article by Sherrie Kline Smith entitled ”Resources in Spanish for Consumer Health Information,”,

2. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine page entitled “Consumer Health Materials in Spanish,”, and

3. Solina Kasten Marquis “Delivering Pregnancy and Birth Information,” Críticas, Vol. 2, No. 5, September-October, 2002, 34, 36-37.

4.  Solina Kasten Marquis “Parenting Information for Newbies,” Críticas, Vol. 2, No. 6, November-December, 2002, 29-30 & 32.

Consumer Health EN ESPAÑOL

By Barbara Bibel

Barbara recently attended the Feria Internacional del Libro in Guadalajara, Mexicao, and offers us a review.

 Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of our population, so we all need current material in Spanish for our collections. The good news is that there is now more high-quality information available. This year’s Feria Internacional del Libro in Guadalajara, Mexico was a wonderful treat. With over 2000 publishers from Latin America and Spain, the choices were almost overwhelming. Along with the latest fiction blockbusters like Gabriel García Marquez’s Memorias de mis putas tristes, I was able to find some consumer health treasures. The new edition of the Mayo Clinic Family Health Book as well as most of the Mayo volumes on specific diseases and conditions are now available in Spanish. Thomson has published a Spanish version of the Mosby dictionary for allied health professionals, too. Reader’s Digest has a nice series of books about nutrition, heart disease, cholesterol, stress reduction and diabetes. For some reason, they decided to package the diabetes volume with a pair of diabetic socks. This increased the price. When I asked about buying the book without the socks, the sales representative said that this was not possible and could not understand why I would want to do that. When I explained that libraries circulate books, not socks, he agreed that this was true, but he would not give me the book alone. Large publishers such as Diana, Planeta, and Larousse also have very nice illustrated books about health topics and parenting.

If you are comfortable working in Spanish and can get funding, it is worthwhile to attend this book fair. The American Library Association offers assistance in the form of subsidies for transportation and hotel rooms for members. If you cannot go, working with a distributor who goes there to buy is the next best thing. Nerissa Moran of Books on Wings is now affiliated with Brodart. Michael Shapiro of Libros Sin Fronteras is now with Baker and Taylor. This will make it even easier for those who use these major suppliers. If you provide a detailed profile of your clientele and their needs, a distributor can shop for you and, in some cases, even provide shelf-ready materials. It is worth the trip. The fair offers an opportunity to see the latest Spanish-language materials and experience Mexican culture as well as sunny weather. If you are interested, contact David Unger, the United States representative at

MLA's Leadership and Management Section: The Benefits of Membership

Submitted by Brian Bunnett, member of the South Central Chapter and of the LMS Membership Committee.

Certain problems are common to all medical librarians: how to keep their skills current, finding a network of colleagues who can advise and support them, and figuring out a career plan that offers them opportunities for growth and advancement.  The MLA, fortunately, exists in order to help us address these problems.  And within the MLA there is a flourishing system of sections that makes this task even easier.

There are currently 23 different MLA sections.  These sections draw like-minded colleagues together so that they can better pursue their common interests.  Their range – from medical informatics to collection development to dental and veterinary libraries – attests to the diversity and vitality of our profession.  Membership in any one of these sections is certain to stimulate and benefit those who belong to them.

I am a member of the Leadership and Management Section (LMS) and serve on that section’s membership committee.  I am willing to admit that this affiliation has perhaps clouded my objectivity.  And it’s not inconceivable that my partiality to the LMS has made me lose sight of the important work that I’m sure is conducted within the other 22 sections.  However that may be, I think that you might find membership in the Leadership and Management Section to be especially appealing.  Let me explain why. 

The LMS allows its members to network with colleagues interested in leadership and management by promoting research and professional development activities.  It accomplishes this goal through programs and symposia held at MLA annual meetings, through The Leading Edge – its excellent newsletter, through its listserv, and through social events and business meetings.  A particularly valuable service provided by the LMS is its identification and remediation of leadership and management problems in medical libraries.  A recent LMS survey, for example, found that the profession offered few training and educational opportunities for librarians wishing to become middle managers.  In response to this finding the LMS created a task force to determine how the section can help to fill this vacuum.

I mentioned at the outset that all librarians face the problem of figuring out a career plan that offers them opportunities for growth and advancement.  Managerial and administrative positions are often exceedingly challenging and difficult.  But they can also be fulfilling, rewarding, and stimulating in ways that other library positions are not.  Those of you interested in such a career path will find that joining the MLA’s Leadership and Management Section will help you to realize your professional aspirations.

More information about the LMS is available on its web page at:  

An application form is available at:


2005 Drug Identifier. CD-ROM. Facts and Comparisons. $31.95. ISBN 1-57439-217-4.

It is not uncommon for patrons to contact the library when they are trying to identify a drug. Both the Physicians Desk Reference and the Consumer Drug Reference have drug identification sections with color pictures, but they are not extensive. This CD-ROM from Facts and Comparisons has over 5,000 color images. Users may search them by generic or brand name, manufacturer, color, imprint, NDC code, shape, scoring, coatings, and flavors. The disc employs Netscape 4.78 as its browser, so users must install it before installing the program. Searchers may use pull-down menus or type words in the search box. If one types a word and clicks on the search button, an error message pops up. To obtain results, it is necessary to choose an item from the menu and double click on it after typing in a search term. This is somewhat cumbersome, but not a major problem. The 2005 Drug Identifier is a useful resource for libraries that need a comprehensive drug identification tool.

Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA.

American Medical Association.   American Medical Association Family Medical Guide.  4th ed.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004.  1136 p. index, illus. ISBN:0-471-26911-5  $45.00

“Reviewed by nearly 50 practicing physicians from a cross section of medical specialties and written in clear, easy-to-understand language,” the 4th edition of American Medical Association Family Medical Guide, provides up-to-date explanations about how specific diseases are diagnosed and treated, how to prevent many chronic conditions, and strategies to maintain good health.  

The 4th edition is nearly 50 percent longer than the  3rd edition published in 1994 and represents an extensive updating of this popular work .  The 2004 edition has more of a health promotion focus and emphasizes the individual’s role in maintaining good health – this now merits, not one, but two parts.   Part one  (150 pages) is a new color section on “What You Should Know: Information to Keep You Healthy” and chapters have been added on complementary and alternative medicine, and cosmetic surgery (this was one page in the 3rd edition). More recent topics have been reflected, such as terrorism, aging well, genetics, and osteoarthritis.

American Medical Association Family Medical Guide is an authoritative guide on the latest diseases, tests, treatments, procedures and drugs.  It is highly recommended for all consumer health information collections, as well a handy reference book for home use.

Susan Murray, Consumer Health Information Service, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, Canada

Saidoff, David C. and Stuart Apfel. The Healthy Body Handbook: A Total Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Sports Injuries. Demos Medical Publishing, 2004. 326 p. index.  ISBN 1-932603-04-2. $24.95

Written for active adults, this book explains the basic structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, while providing information for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. This detailed guide is arranged by body area - knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, back, hand, and foot - and is augmented by numerous black and white illustrations.

Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, Achilles tendon injury, and rotator cuff disorders are some of the more common ailments discussed. Whole body conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia are also featured. The description of each injury includes a definition, contributing factors, signs and symptoms, prevention and treatment, and information about the remedies and procedures most commonly recommended by physicians.

The authors are experienced practitioners, teachers and lecturers. David C. Saidoff is a graduate of the New York University School of Physical Therapy and Dr. Stuart Apfel is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Both have written textbooks in the field and lecture on neuromusculoskeletal topics .

Authoritatively written without being overly technical, The Healthy Body Handbook would be a great addition to consumer health collections of public and medical libraries.  

Dee Jones, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana

Davis, Amelia.  My Story:  A Photographic Essay on Life with Multiple Sclerosis.  Demos Medical Publishing, 2004.  112p.  ISBN 1-932603-01-8.  $19.95.

My Story profiles thirty-two people living with multiple sclerosis, their caregivers and families.  The collection consists of brief, first-person essays and accompanying black-and-white photographs.  The author, a San Francisco-based freelance photographer, was diagnosed with MS in 1998.  Her first book, The First Look (U. of Illinois, 2000) garnered awards for editing and design.

The vignettes that make up My Story explore the range of life-altering consequences of an MS diagnosis for men and women aged 17 to 70.  Many of the personal accounts focus on the gradual acceptance process of living with a chronic, often debilitating condition, describing personal philosophies and coping strategies.  Although some of these stories share personal experiences with MS treatment, My Story does not replace practical works, like Symptom Management in Multiple Sclerosis (Demos Medical Publishing, 2003.)  My Story complements such guides in consumer health collections.

Most MS biographies, like Blindsided (HarperCollins, 2004) and Life on Cripple Creek (Demos, 2003), describe an individual journey in-depth.  In contrast, My Story is a browsable compilation of essays depicting the many human faces of MS.  Although the complexity of language varies throughout, the photographs are accessible, even to new readers.  The images greatly enrich the text,  offering encouragement and inspiration for anyone coming to terms with what it means to be a person with multiple sclerosis.

Rosalind Kutler, Redwood City Public Library, Redwood City, CA

Nonprescription Drug Therapy: Guiding Patient Self-Care, 3rd ed. Tim R. Covington, M.S., PharmD. editor. Facts and Comparisons, 2004. 1440p. $73.95 ISBN 1-57439-199-2.

As more people decide to treat common illnesses and discomforts themselves, accurate information about non-prescription medications is an important part of a library’s reference collection. Non-Prescription Drug Therapy from Facts and Comparisons provides comprehensive information on over 100 common conditions and the over-the-counter (OTC) therapy options available for them. The editor and contributors are pharmacists, physicians, and dentists writing for their peers, but librarians and patrons comfortable with medical terminology will find the information accessible.

The book is organized by condition and body system: CNS conditions, GI/GU conditions, diabetes management, etc. Each includes a definition of the condition and its common names, the etiology, incidence, pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, and diagnostic parameters and physical assessment. This last section sets the book apart from more traditional drug information books such as the Physicians Desk Reference and the Consumer Drug Reference. It includes physical clues to the nature of a disease and interview questions and topics to discuss with patients so that a pharmacist can decide whether to suggest non-prescription medication or refer the patient to a physician. The entries conclude with short monographs on appropriate over-the-counter medications listed by generic name. Brand names are listed in the text. The articles also include patient information for each drug. The book includes information about vitamins and nutritional supplements, home diagnostic tests and devices, and complementary therapies. A series of appendices offer information about FDA pregnancy categories, calculations, the International System of Units, normal laboratory values, and standard abbreviations; general management of overdoses and acute hypersensitivity reactions; the home medicine cabinet; administration techniques; a directory of Web sites for information, organizations, and government agencies; and a directory of poison control centers.

Although librarians cannot suggest medications, the information in this book will allow them to give patrons the data that they need to make decisions or ask health care professionals for further advice. Since the book contains the latest nutritional information and unbiased data about the most popular complementary and alternative therapies, it will be extremely useful at the reference desk. Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA.

Madaras, Lynda.  Ready, Set, Grow!  A “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Younger Girls.  Newmarket Press, 2003.127 p. index. ISBN1-55704-565-8.  $12.00.

This is a much needed book for elementary school-age girls on puberty.  As more nine-, eight-, and even seven-year-olds develop secondary sex characteristics, a book that explains these bodily changes, hygiene, and menstruation without going into detail about sexual behavior, reproduction, and contraception is often requested by parents.  Madaras has twenty years experience as a sex and health educator for young people, and wrote the popular “What’s Happening to My Body?” books for older children.  “Ready, Set, Grow!” uses a relaxed, encouraging style to explain puberty, with chapters on breasts and bras, body hair, the height spurt, the weight spurt, body odor and acne, the value of healthy diet and exercise for growing girls, external and internal female sexual anatomy, menstruation, and sexual harassment or abuse.  Written at a fourth- to fifth-grade level, with cheerful but explicit cartoon illustrations by Linda Davick, this book is helpful, encouraging, and informative for young girls who are not ready for sex but whose bodies are ready for puberty.

Brenda Pfannenstiel, Kreamer Family Resource Center, Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri.

Szymanski, Marianne M. and Ellen Neuborne.  Toy Tips: a Parent's Essential Guide from America's Leading Toy Expert.  Jossey-Bass, 2004. 224 p., ISBN 0797974366.  $9.95

The authors' purpose is to assist toy shoppers choose fun, sturdy, age and development-appropriate toys for children from infancy to adolescence.  The book is arranged by type of toy: indoor, outdoor, technology, educational, videos, etc.  Each section has the benefits, timing, and warnings discussed, plus some general remarks about the type of play the toy encourages such as fine motor coordination, imaginary play, or thinking skills.  It is an interesting arrangement and makes one think about what toys teach.  The problem with the arrangement is one must look in each toy type section if you want to know all the toys which would be good for an elementary age child.  If the final copy has an index this format will not be a problem.  A summary table arranged by age and type of toy would be very useful for harried parents.

Even with this drawback, it is a useful book.  The authors provide good advice about matching the child's developmental age, ability and interests.  There is a long chapter on health and safety issues with toys discussing how to check for possible problems, how to clean toys - including stuffed toys which can't be laundered. 

The writing is easy to understand with a conversational tone, at the 9th grade level.  For the price this is a useful purchase for public and consumer health libraries.

Kate Smith, The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO

Your Complete Guide to Facial Cosmetic Surgery by Jon Mendelson, MD; William Truswell, MD; Kriston Kent, MD. Addicus Books, January 2005. 176 pages, ill., index, glossary. ISBN 1-886039-70-4. $19.95

Written by three board-certified facial plastic surgeons, this title comes across as a 176-page ad for cosmetic surgery.  There are too many glowing descriptions of the benefits of the various procedures and gorgeous before-and-after photos, and not enough discussion of risks and contraindications for me to recommend it.

That said, there is some useful information here for the patient who has already decided that she or he wants surgery. The book opens with an introductory chapter on the aging of skin and a very brief discussion about the necessity of approaching cosmetic surgery with realistic expectations; the discussion of contraindications for surgery is limited to one paragraph. The chapter on choosing a surgeon includes a good description of what an initial consultation should include.  There is also useful information on what to expect before,  during, and after surgery itself - what meds you need to stop before surgery, growing your hair in advance to hide the scars, how long it will be before you can shower, wear makeup, go back to work, etc.  Another chapter discusses aftercare in detail.

There is a chapter devoted to each specific category of procedure: facelift, eyelid lift, browlift, rhinoplasty (nose job), otoplasty (ear pinning); wrinkle fillers/injectables (fat, collagen Botox); implans; skin resurfacing; and scar revision. Each includes the number of Americans that undergo the procedures each year, a description of the procedure, and before-and-after photos. (The photos are predominantly of white women; the cover photo is of four white women ranging in age from about 20 to 70.) There are no drawings or photographs showing how the procedure is done, where the incisions are made, what structures are removed or tightened.

My main concern is that the potential risks and complications are not quantified other than one blanket statement that the rate of complications from facial plastic surgery is "below 1%, less than a tonsillectomy."  It doesn't mention where this figure came from or which procedures or complications it actually includes. Infection, bleeding, hematoma, seroma, incision complications, excessive scarring, reactions to anesthesia, nerve and muscle damage are all mentioned as possible complications but they are minimized; there is no discussion of the possibility of poor aesthetic results.

I've seen an increase in queries about cosmetic surgery in my library over the past year, and have been looking for good resources to help answer them.  The questions have been rather more sophisticated than can be answered by most of the consumer-oriented titles available.  I long for a consumer-oriented book on cosmetic surgery that falls somewhere in the middle between blatantly promoting the procedures and castigating the entire field as evil and anti-feminist.  So far I have not found it.

Eris Weaver, MPH, MLIS, AHIP, Redwood Health Library, Petaluma, CA 

Ettinger, Alan B. and Deborah M. Weisbrot. The Essential Patient Handbook: Getting the Health Care You Need from Doctors Who Know.  Demos, 2004. 300 p. ISBN 1-932603-02-6

This is a powerful book written by two physicians who experienced health care as patient and family of patient through a serious illness, hospitalization, and recovery. This paperback book of 300 pages gives insight to patients who wish to partner with their physician in their health care. This book provides the tools and knowledge necessary to empower a patient to become active in their health care choices. The book includes numerous forms that can be used to organize health information prior to appointments. Some of the forms included are History of Present Illness, Past Medical History, Current Health Form, Review of Symptoms, and several others. Each chapter includes detailed descriptions of information needed to prepare for an appointment. Ettinger and Weisbrot also share their perspective as physicians and explain the reasons behind the questions asked by the health care provider during a consultation. 

The book is most appropriate for those at a high school reading level. Each chapter begins with a quote or anecdote that sets the tone and direction of the chapter.  The book includes an index (not available in the reviewed copy), bibliography, and appendix with examples of completed forms.  The book includes sections on the medical evaluation process, developing your own medical record, special situations (children, psychiatric, impairment, and advanced directives), questions for the doctor, and other useful information.  The Essential Patient Handbook will be a useful tool on the reference shelf at home or on the shelf in a Consumer Health Library.

Carrie Papa, MLIS, Library Manager, All Saints Healthcare, Library & Community Resource Center, Racine, Wisconsin 53405

Publication Information


Consumer Connections (ISSN 1535-7821) is the newsletter of the Consumer and Patient Information Section of the Medical LibraryAssociation and is published quarterly.

Content for each issue is cumulated online at, primarily during the first two months of the quarter; the issue is considered complete at the end of the quarter. Notification of publication is sent quarterly via the CAPHIS listserv. Newsletter articles and book reviews are copyrighted; please contact the editor for reprint permission.


Please submit items for Consumer Connections during the third quarter for publication in the following quarter.

Submit by this newsletter For publication newsletter issue:
March April-June
June July-September
September October-December
December January-March

Please send submissions in electronic format to the editors:

Howard Fuller
E -mail:
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 Vol. 20 No. 4 2004    
ISSN 1535-7821

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CAPHIS, the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section, is a section of the Medical Library Association, an association of health information professionals with more than 5,000 individual and institution members. MLA fosters excellence in the professional achievement and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance the quality of health care, education, and research.

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