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Dementia Friendly libraries: A natural next step for inclusive community spaces Post Cover Image

Libraries are important spaces for the community. They offer a place of safety and support where we all can feel valued, appreciated, and empowered with knowledge and understanding.

This is what makes them a perfect fit with the Alzheimers NZ Dementia Friendly Recognition Programme, which aims to build a safe and inclusive society where people living with dementia mate wareware can exercise their right to feel valued and safe.

Dementia Friendly Advisor Dr Meg Spriggs joined the Public Libraries of New Zealand National Forum 2024 recently to provide an overview of the programme.

She presented alongside District Libraries Manager for Marlborough District Council Glenn Webster. Glenn provided practical, on-the-ground examples of what it means to be a Dementia Friendly library from Picton and Marlborough libraries.

The libraries are two of four that are recognised as Working To Be Dementia Friendly. A further five libraries are enrolled in the programme.

Meg found the event both informative, and a great opportunity to connect with librarians from across the motu (land).

“It was clear at the event that these values of inclusivity and community are held paramount in the work that libraries do. These same values are core to being Dementia Friendly,” says Meg.

She was blown away by how many libraries across the country already have Dementia Friendly reading groups.

“Many libraries are already doing Dementia Friendly work, so the Dementia Friendly Recognition Programme (DFRP) is a natural next step, and an opportunity to be recognised for this mahi.”

The conference was also an occasion to express gratitude to the libraries who are already part of the DFRP.

“The passion and commitment of the libraries I have worked with as part of the DFRP is inspiring. Libraries could really lead the way towards Dementia Friendly communities.”

The DFRP is self-paced, meaning that it is more accessible for libraries which are already stretched. Meg is encouraging libraries which are interested in the programme to reach out to her today.

Caption: Alzheimers NZ Dementia Friendly Advisor Dr Meg Spriggs and District Libraries Manager for Marlborough District Council Glenn Webster at the forum