Director’s Brief: Library Services for Patrons with Dementia

A woman pauses to look at wall-sized floral paintings in an art museum setting
My mom at an art museum in 2018

We found out going on 6 or so years ago that my mom has early-onset Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, accounting for an estimated 60-80% of the overarching syndrome. The journey has not been an easy one. This director’s brief is a gift to my past self and family, who didn’t possess the tools to navigate something so overwhelming as a parent being diagnosed with a progressive brain disease. It is also (hopefully) a gift to my future self and the communities I aim to serve in the years to come.

I was genuinely surprised at the wonderful amount of resources I found on library services to people with dementia and their families, and at the innovation taking place for this community. I invite you to be surprised along with me as you read my brief!

9 thoughts on “Director’s Brief: Library Services for Patrons with Dementia

  1. @dyerariel,
    What a wonderful concept! Having training available to help train community workers to work with those with dementia and create art. This is such a great idea to incorporate in libraries. I loved your format of the brief as well. Great job!


    • Thank you @scollins! The organization I mentioned offers training at several levels too which I thought was really cool- even a smaller, free training for friends and family that I may try.

  2. This came out really well, @dyerariel. I hope you are able to do such a project in the future, to help other families and patients with dementia. It is such a difficult disease, and one that we need to be more open about.

  3. @dyerariel this is a great concept and idea. I have heard of having resources for the family at the library, but never services directly for those suffering from dementia. I think this is a great idea and would be very beneficial to that segment of your community.
    Thank you for sharing your personal story too. My Alzheimer’s runs in my dad’s family and my husband’s mom’s side as well. The last few years watching my great aunt and his grandma struggle with it were very hard.
    Thanks for a great brief!

    • Thanks for your comment @jennietoblergaston! I was really pleasantly surprised to find so many library-specific resources for serving patrons with dementia and their families. Although I too have never seen it in action in a library space and would love to bring it to a library!

  4. Wow! What a wonderful presentation and concept. Having had a grandmother with Alzheimer’s, this really hit home. Thanks for diving into this subject!

  5. @dyerariel Thank you so much for sharing such a meaningful and personal project. Your Director’s Brief was compelling. We have an Older Adults services coordinator who has been working hard to train staff on resources available, including those for folks with dementia. As your story illustrates, knowing about this is important for younger folks too. It turns out KCLS does at least have a link to Timeslips! After reading your brief I’d like to do more with them once I’m a librarian. In case you are interested (or know someone who would benefit from the information), here a link to an event I produced over the summer, “How to Be a Friend to Someone with Dementia” –

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