SUMMIT, NJ - A Health Literacy Tote Bag initiative, a partnership between the Summit Free Public Library, Overlook Medical Center and the Libraries of Union County Consortium that offers books, CDs and-or DVDs and other informaton focusing on a specific health topic all packaged in an easy-to-check-out satchel, is now underway at the Library.

Health Literacy Tote Bags -- 'Health Totes' in the Library’s catalog -- are available for checkout to all Library card holders. Patrons can use the information available within each tote bag to learn more about health topics and disease prevention or recovery.

For example, the Mental Health tote bag contains books and handouts on women’s mental health wellness; how exercise can be used to manage depression and anxiety; and other useful guides for emotional well-being. In addition, the tote bag includes two guided meditation CDs for stress relief and for relaxation and wellness.

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The Library currently has Health Literacy Tote Bags covering: Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism; Diabetes (in English and Spanish); Healthy Weight; Heart Health; Mental Health; Opioid and Substance Abuse; Parkinson’s Disease; and Stroke Recovery.  Additional health topics will be added regularly. The tote bags are located in the New Non-Fiction section on the 600 bookshelf.

The rollout of this health initiative is designed to support and strengthen the Summit community, further the Library’s mission to "inform, enrich, and inspire its citizens" and draw on health literacy as a key pillar in linking the community to healthier lifestyles and outcomes.

The Health Literacy Tote Bag initiative is supported in part with funding from the Chubb Foundation and Novartis.  Overlook Medical Center, part of the Atlantic Health System, through its Health Sciences Library, was instrumental in selecting all of the materials included in each of the Health Literacy Tote Bags.