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Spotlight on the New Brunswick Public Library Service

Posted by Karen Thompson on

Today we feature the New Brunswick Public Library Service! They share the dementia-friendly initiatives they incorporate in their libraries and the importance of being dementia-friendly. 

How many community members do you serve?

The New Brunswick Public Library Service (NBPLS) is made up of 64 public libraries and a Library Services by Mail unit that serve the entire population of New Brunswick. We have nearly 255,000 members (library card holders).

What kinds of programs do you offer at New Brunswick Public Libraries?

Our libraries offer a variety of programs that reach all audiences, from babies to seniors. We have programs for newcomers, for Indigenous people, for those who identify as LGBTQ2+, and everyone in between. Activities can be conducted in English, French, or both languages. Common programs include book clubs, author readings, workshops on various subjects and entertainment events such as concerts, movie screenings and game nights. Our flagship program is our Summer Reading Club (SRC) for children. The theme for SRC 2020 is “Health & Wellness”.

What initiatives have you taken to become dementia-friendly?

We have over 200 documents in our collection on dementia-related subjects. These documents are in English and French and are intended for juvenile, young adult and adult audiences. Some of the books we offer include stories without words (mostly picture books) aimed at adults living with dementia, but we also have resources for their family members and friends on topics such as caregiving, medical treatment and memoirs of people living with memory disorders. Our growing collection is available in numerous formats (books, eBooks, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, etc.).

We also provide access (through the Mental Health section of our online catalogue) to a resource from McMaster University called iGeriCare. This online tool provides simple lessons and helpful resources that allow individuals to learn about different aspects of dementia at their own pace.

 Libraries around the province also offer dementia-related programs. One example is the Memory Café, which is offered in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick. It provides support to people affected by dementia of all ages, and along all stages of the dementia journey. The program provides an opportunity for socialization as well as education. Another example is Jog your Mind / Musclez vos méninges. Participants in this program take part in a variety of activities over the course of several weeks that are designed to increase mental acuity. They come away with tips and tricks to improve their memory and keep their mind sharp. Programs vary from library to library, so contact your local public library to learn more about the activities and events that are planned in your community.

Where are dementia-friendly books placed in the library?

Books on dementia-related topics are interspersed throughout the collection, based on their subject and their audience. The books published by Marlena Books are housed in the adult fiction section. If you are unsure of where to find a particular book, please ask one of our staff members. They will be happy to help you!

Why is being dementia-friendly important to you?

New Brunswick’s population is aging and memory disorders are becoming more prevalent, but some people affected by dementia still have difficulty accessing the resources that they need. Libraries can support people by helping them find the answers to their questions and giving them opportunities to meet others who are walking the same path, so that they don’t feel they have to make the journey all on their own.

Is there anything else you would like to share about dementia-friendly books and initiatives?

You can browse the dementia-related books in our collection by going to our online catalogue (https://catalogue.gnb.ca) and typing some keywords in the search box. Some useful keywords to get you started: dementia, memory disorders, memory loss, Marlena Books.

Are there any resources you would like to share about the New Brunswick Public Library Service?

For more information about NBPLS and our libraries, please visit our website at http://www.gnb.ca/publiclibraries.

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