Much more than books
Libraries now lending out light therapy, radon detection devices
This is not your grandfather’s library.
Cumberland Regional Library’s seven branches put much more at your disposal today, aside from books. There are also DVDs and audiobooks and access to computers and the library accommodates people battling things like seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or wanting to test their home for radon.
“These are just a few of the services we offer as a library,” chief librarian Denise Corey said. “When people think of the library they instantly think books, but there’s much more for people at the library than books and these devices are just some of the things we can offer on loan to people who hold a library card.”
Sometimes called the winter blues, SAD is a type of depression related to changing seasons and less sunlight in the fall and winter months.
Corey said the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library got a grant to pick up lamps used to deal with the effects of SAD and they were able to include the Cumberland Public Libraries, which received two of the devices.
“We’re loaning them out for two weeks at a time,” Corey said. “There are instructions inside, but it is encouraged if you have any concerns you should talk to your physician before using it, especially if you are on any medication that makes you light sensitive.”
Corey said the lamps are designed to help people through the darker days of winter. Through light therapy, people sit in front of a special light box so they are exposed to bright light within their first waking hour each day.
Light therapy mimics natural sunlight and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.
With the support of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, the library also has radon detector devices. They are used to indicate radon levels in the home.
“There are already over 90 radon detector devices circulating in libraries across the province,” said Robert MacDonald, president and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia. “While this program was never intended to provide testing to every homeowner in Nova Scotia, we are pleased it has created more awareness about the dangers of radon gas in the home. It’s just another way we’re trying to improve lung health in our province.”
Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that has no smell, and is present in most homes. Longterm exposure to elevated levels of radon in the home, especially for smokers, increases the risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, it is responsible for approximately 16 per cent of all cases of lung cancer and the only way to know if a home has high levels of radon is to test for it.
The Cumberland Public Libraries chief librarian Denise Corey said therapy lamps and radon detection devices are just some of the latest examples of how there’s more than just books at the library.