Inclusion, Resources, and Joy: Serving the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Community in Public Libraries
Faculty Presentation

Faculty Conference Presentation

Workshop presented at the ALA Annual Conference by Dr. Timothy J. Dickey with Mary Beth Riedner (Roosevelt University) and Amy DelPo (Denver Public Library).

The dementia community is larger than you might imagine. Within the United States, more than 6 million people are living with dementia. These numbers are expected to rise dramatically as life expectancy increases and as the greater impacts of COVID-related dementias are felt. Once you add in 15 million friends, family members, and caregivers, the numbers represent a significant segment of the population served by public libraries.

Public libraries are perfectly positioned to have a positive impact on this population. Although the Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations provide some programs and opportunities to connect, the geographic reach of these programs is limited, and many of them are centered in skilled nursing facilities. People aging in their homes often have little access to this kind of programming or resources, especially if they live in rural areas. Even in areas where these programs are offered, they can be difficult to reach for an older adult population, considering challenges with transportation and parking. Services for minority communities, who experience even greater incidence of dementia, can raise even greater challenges.

In contrast, public libraries are embedded in almost every American community, offering a unique opportunity to welcome and engage the 81% of people who have dementia who are still living at home, as well as the people who care for and about them. Librarians already bring the professional values of customer service, equity and inclusion, lifelong learning, and information and technology access. This pre-conference will equip the same librarians to work with the underserved community of people with dementia: the science of dementia, the challenges and needs of people living with dementia, ways that libraries’ core services can provide cognitive and social stimulation to those with dementia, communication strategies, and practical information for creating high impact programs to engage this population and increase their quality of life.

Presenters: Dr. Timothy Dickey with Mary Beth Riedner and Amy DelPo
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2023
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Location:  2023 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL