Saturday, September 28, 2019

Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness at the Library

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while the little pink ribbons are absolutely everywhere, we don't see as much explanation of what those ribbons actually mean.

We have come up with some ways that libraries can help spread the word about cancer, early detection, and surviving "the worst," and get your community involved in the fight against breast cancer.


Did you know that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in her lifetime? (For men, it is roughly 1 in every 833 people.) When you add in caregivers and families, it's likely that this has an effect on pretty much every person out there.

  • Information is key! Have a table with contact info for local clinics that perform mammograms, pamphlets on early warning signs, and other important facts. Be sure to include dates and times for local support groups!
  • Put up a book display with medical information and biographies of survivors. There are even cookbooks designed for cancer patients!
  • Perhaps have a speaker to come in to talk about their cancer journey, or a local doctor or nurse talk about the importance of doing self-checks. 
  • Put the word out on social media! The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has some great sample tweets that you can use to start the conversation.
  • If you are unable to host any yourself, or in addition to any that you can host, find and promote local events to promote awareness.
  • There is a great article with information to share with your patrons on the Ebsco blog.


Everyone wants to make a difference, and there are many ways that your patrons can help people who are going through one of these hard times.

  • If you have a knitting or crocheting group, see if they would be interested in making hats for people going through chemotherapy. Some hospitals and treatment centers will leave boxes of donated hats near the patient entrance, for people to take.
  • Patrons of all ages can make Get Well cards for patients. Cards can either be sent to hospitals and treatment centers without a specific recipient in mind, or can be crafted for people to take and mail to those in their own life who are going through treatment or are survivors.
  • Assemble care packages for people going through treatment. Include words of encouragement, crossword puzzles to do in the waiting room, and hard candy for a sweet surprise. 


  • Host a support group for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their families. You'd be surprised how many people fall into one of these categories!
  • One library had a program where people did "yarn bombing" (where trees, light poles, bike racks, etc. are covered in knit or crocheted yarn), all in pink, to show their support.
  • Have pink ribbons that people can take and wear to show their support. Have staff wear them as well.
There are lots of ways to spread information, awareness, and support. In which ways does your library help? Tell us here in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page.

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