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The purpose of this study was to increase the understanding of the ways that people find health information in Iran, as a developing country, and also to identify how they evaluate the roles of public libraries in providing their users with health information.
The setting of the study is public libraries of Qazvin City of Iran. The four main public libraries in different areas of the city were selected for research. Sample size of this study was 200(n=200). To collect data a structured questionnaire was used. Data were summarized using frequency (%) for qualitative variables. The Chi -Square tests were also used to test the association between the socio-demographic variables and health information seeking behavior.
The study indicates that health information seekers in Iran are passive information seekers rather than active ones. The results showed that most common resources for seeking health information were “TV” and “discussions with others”. Among the persons used internet for search health information, search engines such as "Google" or "Yahoo" were more used. Also results indicated that among persons going to public libraries, there was a group that referred to public library for finding information about health and for using information sources such as medical magazines, books and etc. In review of relationship between socio-demographic properties such as age, gender, education and job and the use of health information resource conclude that there is a meaningful-relationship between education level and use of internet for getting health information and between age, job and “discussions with family, relatives or close friends” for receiving health information.
This study suggests that one of the key issues in public libraries could be educating the citizens (its members at least) until people become familiar with available health resources in the library and even librarians teach them how to search on the authentic websites.