Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., April 5, 2021 – In March 2020, COVID-19 caused most public, hospital and academic libraries in New Jersey to close their doors to visitors in order to help avoid the spread of the virus. Throughout the pandemic, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s Resource and Learning Center (RLC) has continued to be physically closed to visitors. However, cancer patients as well as members of the community who are seeking disease specific information are able to access the information they need beyond physical books.

Numerous online resources are available through the RLC which is dedicated to supporting patients and the public with vast resources and references through its website: Some items of note:

  • The RLC’s ‘Recommended Websites’ page, org/education/recommended-websites, provides links to trustworthy information on 37 general cancer topics and 33 disease specific topics. COVID-19 information for cancer patients can also be found on this page as well as general health and wellness information, 3D videos of surgical procedures and medical animations.
  • The RLC’s Facebook page, com/ResourceLearningCenter, also features key information including event postings, news alerts, and new resource additions to the library. Individuals should follow this page to receive the latest updates.
  • The RLC’s YouTube channel, com/user/cinjrlc, provides a select number of videos on topics including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, emotional and mental health, and kids with cancer.

In addition, it is important to find trustworthy information on the internet, especially when looking for health information. Below are a few guidelines for making sure a website is a credible source for health information.

  • In general, good sources for health information include sites from the federal government (.gov), educational institutes (.edu), and organizations (.org). 
  • Look for an ‘about us’ link on the site that provides information on who runs the site. This may also include a mission statement. 
  • Check who reviews the information that you are reading. Is there a Medical Advisory Board? If you are looking at cancer information, there should be medical professionals on the board that specialize in oncology.
  • Is there a date listed as to when the page was last updated? Health information changes rapidly and you want to make sure the information you are reading is current and up-to-date. 
  • Do you see typographical errors on the page? Are there dead links? Does the page look sloppy? If so, you may want to try another website.
  • Is the information that is being claimed too good to be true? If there is any doubt with what you are reading, try to verify the information on another website.

According to the American Library Association, public libraries are making virtual resources available and considering other ways they can help during the pandemic. The Resource and Learning Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute continues to offer online resources and is currently exploring options for adding in-person services in the future. 

The RLC’s medical librarian, Janet Lasin, MLS, BS, is available to help address your information questions.  She can be reached at [email protected].