Banner Boswell Medical Center librarian Dawn Humay helps people find trustworthy medical information in the medical library as well as online.

Nick Cote/Daily News-Sun

Sometimes Dawn Humay helps people almost by accident.

Humay, medical librarian at Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City, will be sitting at her desk and someone will walk into the library out of curiosity.

“The medical records office is across the hall,” she said. “So someone will be here for that, see the library and just sort of poke their heads in. I’ll ask if I can help them with anything and they’ll say a family member is having this or that surgery, or is dealing with this illness. So I show them what we have.”

The Family Learning Center and Medical Library is a resource Humay said most people simply are not aware of. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff frequently take advantage of it, of course.

“Often times a doctor will call and say they think they read somewhere that a new treatment was being used for an illness and it is up to me to find what they are referring to,” she said. “And frequently it is just that vague, too. A doctor might insist they read about it in the New England Journal a month or two ago, and it turns out to have been from a different source and a year and a half old. But I don’t mind.”

In fact, Humay said she relishes the challenge. Whether the questions are coming from medical staff or people off the street, Humay said she is there to help.

“I can never have too many people in here,” she said. “Sometimes people will apologize for bothering me, but I always tell them they are never a bother. This is my job, and it’s what I love to do.”

Humay is hoping after next week she’ll be even busier. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Banner Boswell is playing host to a free open house in celebration of World Health Day.

The festivities will be on the first floor of the hospital’s support services building, which happens to be where the library is located. In addition to the health fair, blood pressure checks and refreshments, visitors will also be encouraged to tour the library and visit with Humay.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” she said. “I think unfortunately many people are not aware this service is available to them, and I hope many more will be after next week.”

Humay’s assistance can make a big difference.

She recalled one instance years ago when a frequent visitor to the library called to say he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

As a man who already had Parkinson’s disease, the standard treatment for prostate cancer at that time was not an option.

“He wanted to know what he could do, what his options were,” she said. “We were able to identify a new procedure and a hospital in his home state where they offered it. They were able to cure his prostate cancer, and he told me later, ‘You probably saved my life.’ I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary to help him, but I was able to get him the information he needed.”

Humay can be reached at the Family Learning Center and Medical Library at 623-876-6668.

The library is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Just poke your head in,” she said.

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or

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