This Dementia Awareness Week, the Scottish Libraries & Information Council, the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, Alzheimer Scotland and pathfinder libraries in Stirling, Aberdeenshire, Glasgow, Fife, North Ayrshire, Inverclyde, the Lothians, East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire launched a new partnership to establish vital dementia information hubs in over 120 community libraries. The launch was celebrated with a Tea & Blether event in Central Library, Stirling during Dementia Awareness Week (which ran 29 May to 4 June).
Through the partnership, these community libraries will have close relationships with their nearest Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Resource Centre, display and share a wide range of Alzheimer Scotland dementia information materials, and support library users to access online dementia and brain health resources (such as Brain Health Scotland). Staff in those libraries have undertaken Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friends Scotland programme, to help them better understand the day-to-day challenges of living with dementia and support for people with dementia to fully use the library’s resources. Additionally, many libraries are creating opportunities for their local Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Advisor to be able to use their building for drop-in sessions for people with dementia and their carers.
Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of the Scottish Library & Information Council, said:
“The Scottish Library & Information Council is proud to partner with Alzheimer Scotland on this fantastic initiative. It builds on dementia support programmes delivered through Scotland’s public libraries, such as the Memories Scotland Memory Groups and Dementia Friendly accreditation which many public libraries have now received.
"Libraries offer a calm, welcoming safe haven for anyone looking for respite, support and information about dementia. Furthermore, library event programmes include Dementia-Friendly film screenings, chatty cafes and reminiscence groups.
“Our public libraries play a crucial role tackling this very real problem and they also offer a wide range of information, both on site, online and through quality-assured reading lists.”
Kirsty Stewart, Executive Lead for Stakeholder Engagement at Alzheimer Scotland, said:
“It’s wonderful to see so many community libraries commit to being local dementia information hubs. I am inspired by how the partnership has really embraced learning about dementia; by educating themselves, providing information, creating links with local Alzheimer Scotland supports and ensuring their community spaces are welcoming for anyone living with dementia or worried about their memory. Libraries are a vital resource for so many people and with 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland, this partnership is another important step to making sure nobody faces dementia alone.
“Dementia is just one thing about a person – it’s not everything. I am delighted to see so many libraries hold their own Tea & Blether events to celebrate this partnership and I look forward to seeing what else we can achieve together, over the coming year.”
Bill Alexander, member of the National Dementia Carers Action Network and carer for his wife Christine, said: “Being able to get information on dementia from your local library, and take part in dementia-friendly activities, will make a big difference to a lot of people. I’m really glad that these libraries are providing this service. Spending time with other people in the same boat and being able to make new friends is invaluable. I hope this new partnership means many more people get the help that they need.”
Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Wellbeing and Housing Committee, Cllr Gerry McGarvey said: “Stirling has further committed itself to becoming a truly dementia-friendly city with this excellent initiative. Having dementia information hubs in Stirling’s libraries – and in so many other libraries across Scotland – will help to guide people living with dementia, and those who care for them, to the support that they need.
“Those of us who love our local libraries know that they are not silent rooms with dusty books. They are vibrant and much-loved community spaces, and this additional support hopefully helps those people living with dementia, to remain active members of their communities.”