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.

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