Interview with Allison Wood from Queen Anne’s County Library, one of the two winners of the 2022 Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia
By Janet Tom, San Francisco Public Library, Reference Librarian, Retired
RUSA was pleased to have a new award in 2022, The Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia. Established by his wife, Mary Beth Riedner and her family, this award is given to two libraries to support the creation and development of services and programming to serve those living with dementia.
I asked Allison Wood, programming and marketing coordinator for Queen Anne’s County Library to tell me about their community. She said, “We’re located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; Chesapeake Bay is to the West. Centreville is one of our two branches, serving about 13,000 residents. The whole county has about 50,000 people.” Allison said they serve a large senior population, as there are several senior housing communities nearby. There are also young families and a large community of farmworkers in the more rural areas.
Queen Anne’s County Library is utilizing the Riedner grant to bring artists and people living with dementia together. They learned that working with long-standing and established artists, instructors and businesses would attract more people. Murdoch Florist, a family-owned business in Centreville since 1958, had one of their florists teach a flower arranging class (see photos) at the library and all 15 seats filled up quickly. A local yoga instructor taught a yoga and self-care class, giving participants a goodie bag. Next up is a Senior Zumba class taught by an instructor who works at an assisted living facility and specializes in working with people living with dementia.
Allison said, “We are hosting a staff training with the Alzheimer’s Association early this year entitled “Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behaviors”, which will equip our staff to have more understanding and knowledge in helping those with memory loss.”
I asked Allison to describe how the library is getting the word out about their programs for people living with dementia? In addition to working with the Alzheimer’s Association, Allison said, “We also have partnered with Queen Anne’s County Department of Aging and presented our programs at their annual Caregivers Conference and at their Maryland Access Point Quarterly Inter-Agency meeting, which brings together adult service agencies from around the county to share upcoming events and programs for our senior population.” The library also plans to participate in Queen Anne’s County Senior Summit, held annually in May, at the 4-H Park in Centreville. The Summit’s goal is to have agencies and vendors offer information and resources specifically for seniors and the aging population.
Allison said, “We will continue the work we have begun with this grant to serve our seniors through programming and events in the future.”
View the Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia awards page.