Heather Rodenhurst, Library Commissioning Manager for Health and Wellbeing (Job Share), tells us how Shropshire Libraries have launched Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia and their plans to extend the scheme during Dementia Awareness Week.
Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia was launched in Shropshire during the last week of January 2015. Branches in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Market Drayton and Whitchurch promoted the new collections in a variety of ways, ranging from pop-up dementia cafes with Alzheimer's Society support to visits to support groups to highlight the availability of these terrific new titles.
Promoting the scheme
Since January, all Shropshire GP practices have received leaflets and information; we have also presented the scheme to a large audience of community and care coordinators (a new role in Shropshire providing a link between surgeries and people living at home with long-term conditions). An information worker with Shropshire's Alzheimer's Society has recently travelled to remote areas of the county in our mobile libraries and has promoted the book collections en route.
Publicity about the book collections led to interest from Help2Change, Shropshire's public health arm and subsequent funding which has allowed us to buy a further seven sets of Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia titles.
Dementia Awareness Week
The collections are being launched in libraries in Albrighton, Shifnal, Ellesmere, Wem, Harlescott, Bayston Hill and Bishop's Castle throughout Dementia Awareness Week May (18-24 May). Again, there is a programme of special events to draw attention to their arrival, including Dementia Friends training sessions in branches and dementia-friendly teatimes. We will also be hosting a training event with staff from Pictures to Share, when Shropshire Libraries staff will be joined by care home staff and volunteers from Age UK and Alzheimer's Society.
Building healthy communities
In summary, the launch of Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia has been an entirely positive experience in Shropshire. Working with the Alzheimer's Society has led to successful, sociable events within our branches for those living with dementia and their carers. Offering a dementia-friendly welcome, reducing stigma, and giving firm support have been underlying themes at these events, encouraging library staff to undertake Dementia Friends training and to consider how current services can be successfully adapted.
Finally, Shropshire Libraries has been able to demonstrate to residents, health professionals and decision-makers that our branches, with the inclusion of Health Zones, are indeed a key component in building resilient and healthy communities for the future wellbeing of Shropshire's residents.
Find out more about Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia.
Discover what's on at Shropshire Libraries
If you're a member of library staff, you may find our bank of digital resource helpful to promote the scheme in your libraries.