Beginning this spring, Caribou and Houlton will join a select number of communities across Maine in offering residents a new, convenient way to connect with a healthcare provider.

The Maine State Library is launching the "Libraries Health Connect Program" which provides the technology and training needed to access telehealth services through the local public library.

Participating libraries in Aroostook County include the Caribou Public Library and Cary Library in Houlton. Other libraries in Maine that will offer the service are in Islesboro, Fryeburg, Steuben, South Paris, Jonesport, Pittsfield, Skowhegan and Dover-Foxcroft. Libraries were selected based on “endemic community health issues and a lack of ready access to healthcare.”

Telehealth uses technology to give people remote access to real-time appointments with their healthcare providers. Individuals who opt to receive telehealth care from their provider can now book the Telehealth Room at a participating library. The local library furnishes a private room with a laptop, camera, computer, mouse, lights, headphones, and other technology to enable the individual to keep their appointment. These services are provided at no cost to the community.

"Maine's libraries are committed to ensuring their communities have access to equitable services," said Jamie Ritter, Maine State Librarian. "This means offering programs that you might not associate with your library, like telehealth. We strongly believe that where you live should not dictate the quality of your healthcare.”

Types of care that people can access through the Maine Libraries Health Connect Program include wellness visits, requesting or renewing prescriptions, consultations with specialists, follow-up appointments, nutritional counseling, mental health counseling and other non-urgent care.

Telehealth Rooms at participating libraries are expected to be available for appointments starting in May. The Maine State Library dedicated funds it received through the American Rescue Plan Act to create the statewide telehealth initiative.

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