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|Jennings-Roche A.; Adle M.; Jean B.St.; Jaeger P.T.
|The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Popular Media and the Roles of Public Libraries in Supporting Health Information Access, Health Literacy, and Health Justice during Pandemics: Learning from the Past to Prepare for the Future
Jennings-Roche A.; Adle M.; Jean B.St.; Jaeger P.T. The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Popular Media and the Roles of Public Libraries in Supporting Health Information Access, Health Literacy, and Health Justice during Pandemics: Learning from the Past to Prepare for the Future,Library Quarterly 93 1
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|Events unfolding around the COVID-19 pandemic have historical parallels, particularly relating to health disparities and health injustice; limited health information literacy; failure of the US federal government to launch an organized response and clearly inform the public; and widespread misinformation and disinformation, along with their health-damaging and life-threatening impacts. These themes have been prominent during earlier pandemics, including smallpox outbreaks and the 1918 influenza pandemic. In this article, we discuss these themes and findings from our exploratory investigation into how the 1918 influenza pandemic was portrayed in women’s magazines, how exten-sive misinformation and disinformation circulated (especially patent medicine advertisements), and how libraries strove to overcome numerous challenges (similar to today’s) to continue to meet the public’s needs and help them navigate the flood of misinformation and disinformation. In conclu-sion, we discuss important lessons learned from previous pandemics that can help libraries to serve the public optimally during future pandemics. © 2023 The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. Published by The University of Chicago Press.