Our full-service patient library: one of the Cancer Center’s crown jewels

full-service library for UMHS Comprehensive Cancer Center patients and family members

Lori Boylan, information resource assistant (left) and Ann Marie Scholten

The Patient Education Resource Center, commonly referred to as the PERC, is a full-service library for UMHS Comprehensive Cancer Center patients and family members. The PERC takes great pride in making sure the resources and services it provides are tailor-made to those who are facing a cancer diagnosis. The PERC, located on Level B2 of the Cancer Center, is home to the usual library amenities such as: books, reference services, medical models, computers for patient and family use, and a copy and fax machine. In my opinion, what sets the PERC apart are its caring individuals and the following services and programs:

Information Guides

Developed and maintained by the Cancer Center librarian, Info Guides, are lists of sources relating to a specific cancer diagnosis or issue. The purpose of the guide is to help newly diagnosed patients and their loved ones find credible sources of information and support.

Here are few topics that may be of interest to you:

  • How to talk about cancer with children
  • Cancer and the internet
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Fertility and cancer (men and women)
  • Herbs and nutritional supplements

Of course, we also have a complete list of cancer types from adrenal to head and neck to thyroid. For a complete list of Info Guides, click on the link.

Expert Searches

As mentioned above, the Info Guides were developed to give you a quick glance at cancer types and topics. However, there are times when more in-depth information is needed. Through the PERC, you can request an expert search. All expert searches are reviewed by the medical librarian and are mailed out to patients along with an evaluation form. The evaluation form is used to assess patient satisfaction with the search and to see how we can improve upon efficiencies. The PERC’s done expert searches on:

  • Y-90, liver transplant, chemotherapy options and studies available regarding Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
  • Disease, treatment and survival rate information on Papillary Serous Adenocarcinoma of the Endometrium.
  • Latest journal articles regarding stage 4 Adenocarcinoma Esophageal Cancer.
  • Cancer and chemotherapy information in Chinese.

Sight & Sound Program

Through the Sight & Sound Program, Cancer Center patients (this includes inpatients, too, oncology units only) and their family members may check-out iPads and laptops for personal use.

The overall goal of the program is to provide entertainment, as well as allow patients/families to have easy access to the many cancer resources available online. Carefully chosen Apps, with broad appeal in content, have been carefully selected. Categories include: books, entertainment, games, health, music, news and sports. Earphones are provided so patients can listen to music and movies without distracting others. Each person who checks out a device is given an evaluation and instructions on using the device. The PERC also has a Tech Squad of student volunteers who deliver devices to patients/families and assist them with use.

Once the device is returned, it is disinfected and re-synced to remove any personal information.

To see the Apps Information Guide developed by the PERC librarian, click on the link (PDF).

The PERC mission is to empower patients, families and caregivers to make the most informed decisions and to be active partners in their health care. I hope some of the information in this blog did just that.

PERCThe Patient & Family Education Resource Center (PERC) at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a vital link between the patient and the most current cancer information resources. It is a full-service library housing a comprehensive collection of print and audiovisual resources on all aspects of cancer. The PERC’s goal is to help empower patients, families, caregivers and the public to make informed decisions and become active partners in their health care.


Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.