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Health FAQs

Arm yourself with medical information: How to use Greenwich Library's Health Information Center

Please ask a Librarian, who will help you assemble the information that you need.

  • Does the Health Information Center have materials I can check out and use at home?

    Yes, The Library has a collection of 5,000 circulating books and 300 videos that you can check out.

  • Can I log onto databases from home?

    Most of the health databases purchased can be accessed from home. Log on to the Library's Web site at, and from the menu choose Health Information Center. Once there, click on the Health Databases link and use your library card number to gain access to these premium products. Also check the Health Information Center Internet Links page for over 100 links to free web sites listed there.

  • How can I find out if my symptoms are something routine or might require medical attention?

    You can consult the symptom flow charts in reference books in the Health Information Center:

    • The "Merck Manual"
    • "The American College of Physician's Home Medical Guide"

  • The doctor wants me to have some medical tests. Where can I find a basic overview of the test in advance?
    • Search the test name on WebMD,, which defaults to a test definition or the Library of Medical Tests at
    • Consult the Medical Test Encyclopedia at
    • Link to MedlinePlus, another free web source at, which offers online tutorial about tests.
    • Check out a copy of "The Patient's Guide to Medical Tests: Everything you Need to Know about the Tests your Doctor Orders" from the circulating collection.

  • My doctor has prescribed a new medication. Where can I find out more about the drug and its side effects?
    • Look up the medication in the "Physician's Desk Reference" (PDR) in the reference section of the Health Information Center
    • If it's a very new drug and is not listed in the PDR, try the Library's "Health Source Plus" database, which includes a feature called "Clinical Pharmacology".
    • is also a reliable source for such information.

  • Where can I find a basic overview of a medical condition?
    • Check the Mayo Clinic guides or the "Well-Connected" summaries of conditions and diseases in the Reference section
    • Search the Library's book collection for a comprehensive overview in our catalog
    • Get a recent article from one of many databases the Library has subscribed to at the Health Information Center, particularly "Well-Connected" or "Health & Wellness"

  • I need to see a specialist as soon as possible. Where can I find specialists in the area?
    • Consult "The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists", an annual publication in the reference collection. It lists all board certified specialists by state and city. This product is also available online in the Health Information Center.
    • Scan the Consumer's Checkbook guide to Top Doctors at the same link as above.
    • Look at "Top Doctors." It lists selected specialists by state and city; or "Top Doctors" listed by specialty in "New York" magazine.

  • What information can I review to prepare for surgery?

    In addition to a book you can borrow and periodical articles that can be printed for you, there may be a video in the second floor collection that describes the surgical procedure.

  • Where can I locate information on hospitals near my home?

    Start with the "American Hospital Directory" in Reference; or The "Consumer's Checkbook Guide to Hospitals" database is available in the Health Information Center. You can compare hospitals using a variety of criteria.

  • Do you have information about the credibility of alternative therapies like glucosamine for treating arthritis? What studies have been conducted to support or disprove the claims?
    • The "Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database", which is available in the Health Information Center, offers overviews of homeopathic medicine and natural drugs.
    • "" which is available in the Health Information Center via our Health database, reviews natural products for safety and efficacy.