Public librarians expand their roles of responsibilities towards community change
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Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sasanka Dharmasena   

Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Publication date: 2018-10-03
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 3):A102
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To reduce tobacco consumption in communities through public librarians.

Sri Lanka holds more than 1000 libraries and per day 100 – 200 readers visit library. Main responsibility of librarians is to facilitate these readers and they spend most of their duty time in and around libraries. In 2010, Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) identified library network as the most appropriate and effective way to disseminate scientific tobacco prevention information. Since 2014 ADIC started training librarians and empower them to make a community pressure to reduce tobacco in their respective areas. ADIC developed a distance-mode module to empower librarians and gave the theoretical knowledge through the module on organizing a campaign and its objectives. In Sri Lanka, most of librarians actively organize and conduct town campaigns, school programs and labor programs for tobacco reduction.

Average 29,000 people are able see tobacco prevention messages and facts which are displayed around 290 libraries. From 2014, 35 town campaigns have been conducted by librarians. 30 librarians organized stop selling cigarette campaigns and 302 shop owners have agreed to stop selling cigarettes. 12 librarians were developed to conduct tobacco prevention programmes in the communities by themselves. In 2016, government was pressurized to implement the policies on pictorial health warnings and tobacco tax; organizing 05 petition campaigns. In March 2018 librarian of Kegalle library organized award ceremony to appreciate shop owners who stopped selling cigarettes and people who stopped smoking.

Public library is an appropriate place to display effective tobacco prevention messages and expose industry interference on people to achieve increased knowledge, attitudes and practices among the public. Public librarians can make a community pressure to reduce tobacco consumption.

Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC Sri Lanka) is the funding organization of this programme.