NLM logo

Exhibitions: Making a World of Difference

Public Programming Example for Making a World of Difference

Reel-iable Health Information Film Challenge

Participants write, direct, and film their own public service announcements around NLM’s health information resources, empowering them to become advocates of health literacy and informed health decision-making. Screen PSAs during the exhibition booking period to creatively connect current health literacy topics with the exhibition’s historical content.

Open All
    • A public service announcement (PSA) shares information or messages made for the good of the public; rather than giving health advice, PSAs help viewers to understand how to find, evaluate, and/or use reliable health information resources. PSAs are not a substitute for talking to a trusted healthcare provider about personal health decisions
    • Immunization, often used interchangeably with vaccination and inoculation, is the process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination
    • In this program, youth participants write, direct, and film their own PSAs featuring NLM’s health information resources to demonstrate how to make informed decisions around immunization
    • This program plan is designed to be adaptable to multiple health topics; immunization is used here as a practical example
    Close Close All Open All
    • Identify useful, reliable, and trusted immunization and health literacy resources available from the National Library of Medicine
    • Create accessible PSAs for peers and others that promote health literacy and informed health decision-making in the community
    • Engage deeply with the themes of Making a World of Difference: Stories About Global Health by screening PSAs in conjunction with the exhibition
    Close Close All Open All
    • Middle school students
    • High school students
    • Art, film, marketing, or public health students
    Close Close All Open All
  • MedlinePlus provides high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish, such as:

    In 2011, NLM held a PSA contest and selected some excellent videos around the topic of health literacy and NLM health information resources. Gain inspiration from the "NLM & You: The Video:" Contest Winners

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers up-to-date examples of effective Influenza Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

    In contrast, the NLM History of Medicine Division (HMD) collects, preserves, makes available, and interprets for diverse audiences one of the world’s richest collections of historical material related to health and disease, including historical immunization-related materials:

    Close Close All Open All
    • Art and film organization such as college media arts departments, museums or art institutes, or film festivals
    • Camera collectives or audiovisual equipment rental businesses
    • Marketing and media organizations such as advertising agencies, college marketing departments, news stations, or local access stations
    • Public health departments
    • Youth programs such as afterschool programs or library teen councils
    Close Close All Open All
  • Time

    • Phase 1: Planning, 1-2 months
    • Phase 2: Marketing and filmmaking, 3-6 months
    • Phase 3: Selection, screening, and exhibition display, 1-3 months
    • Total: 6-12 months


    • No funds are required to run this program as described
    • Optional budget items:
      • Film equipment to loan to participants (solicit donations from your community, search [“your location” + “camera collective”], [“your location” + “camera rental”], or purchase used or low-cost new video cameras)
      • In-person film screening program costs such as venue rental and equipment rental (search [“your location” + “audiovisual equipment rental”])
      • Prizes for award-winning films
    Close Close All Open All
    • Add a Health Literacy PSA category to your existing youth film festival or competition
    • Amplify and contextualize this program by making it part of a National Health Observance such as National Immunization Awareness Months (August), Healthy Aging Month (September), or Health Literacy Month (October)
    • Engage your Teen Council, Friends of the Library group, afterschool STEM program staff, or another volunteer jury to select their top choices of films or award categories
    Close Close All Open All
  • Phase 1: Planning
    1. Develop a 6 to 12-month timeline, in conversation with any collaborators or partners. A sample timeline might be:
      • Month 1: Identify program partners and collaborators
      • Month 2: Develop guidelines and marketing materials
      • Month 3: Announce exhibition display and PSA film challenge to your community
      • Months 4-9: Support participants’ filmmaking, confirm jury members, and plan screening
      • Month 10: Jury selection and curation
      • Month 11: Exhibition display and film screening
    2. Develop guidelines that reflect your institution’s mission and the goals of your program. Consult with your organization’s administrative or technology teams as required or appropriate.
      • Include the following to ensure films include NLM health information resources: “Films must contain at least one citation to an NLM health information resource, relate to finding or evaluating information about immunization, and end with this text: ‘Visit for additional health information resources’”
      • In addition to those key instructions, other considerations to include in your guidelines are:
        • Film length
        • Eligibility
        • Inappropriate or disallowed content
        • How applicants should submit their films, for example, uploading to a video streaming site such as YouTube or Vimeo and sharing the link
        • Information on judging, prizes, and future screenings
        • Release, licensing, and formatting requirements
    Phase 2: Marketing and filmmaking
    1. Market the program, giving participants at least 3 months to develop their films before the submission deadline
    2. Confirm film selection or prize committee members
    3. Plan your screening event. This may be an Oscars-style red carpet awards ceremony, a permanent online screening room with videos embedded on your library’s website, or anything in between

    Phase 3: Screening and exhibition display
    1. Host your film screening! If time permits, consider screening all the submitted films that include NLM health information resources and meet your advertised guidelines
    2. If you are providing awards, jury members select and curate the films based on the criteria you advertised
    Close Close All Open All
    • Start early to give your filmmakers enough time to create and edit their films
    • Anyone can make a video, even if you don't have a camera!
      • Use free browser-based animation software to draw cartoons or create animated infographics
      • Search tutorials online for how to make a video in PowerPoint or using a screen recorder
      • Shoot your video on a smartphone and edit with free built-in software or a free app
    • All health information cited should be from credible resources; misinformation or debunked information should be included only as examples of how to evaluate health information or as reported in the news, such as studies showing people’s perceptions of a common piece of health misinformation
    • If filmmakers are competing for prizes, be sure to provide selection criteria before films are submitted
    Close Close All Open All
  • While many libraries have robust youth film programming and partnerships, others are just beginning to explore this exciting program opportunity. If film festivals are new to your organization or to you personally, here are some real-life examples:

    Close Close All Open All

Last Reviewed: January 4, 2021