Comparing Medical Emergency Preparedness in U.S. Public and Academic Libraries




Owens, Erin

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Taylor & Francis (Public Services Quarterly)


This study sought to determine what medical emergency resources and training are provided in U.S. public and academic libraries, how public versus academic preparedness compares, and what reasons may contribute to decisions against adoption. Survey responses from 65 libraries were analyzed regarding availability of, plans to acquire, or reasons for not acquiring five interventions—automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs), naloxone, epinephrine, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, and mental health crisis training. Findings showed that these interventions were not necessarily common—41.5% of respondents offered zero of the five interventions, while the most common, AED, was available in 52.3% of libraries. AEDs and epinephrine were somewhat more common in academic libraries, but naloxone, CPR training, and mental health crisis training were more common in public libraries. Primary reasons for not adopting medical interventions included alternative emergency response options, cost, concerns regarding legal liability, and the sense that this is outside the scope of a library’s duties. Implications and considerations for library planning are discussed.



medical emergencies, libraries, emergency preparedness, academic libraries, public libraries


Owens, E. (2022). Comparing Medical Emergency Preparedness in U.S. Public and Academic Libraries. Public Services Quarterly 18(4): 245-270. doi: 10.1080/15228959.2022.2025989