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Hampshire Library and Information Service

“A creative service at the heart of Hampshire communities which prides itself on meeting their evolving needs for reading, information, learning and enjoyment.” Library Vision and Strategy Hampshire has one of the largest library services in the UK with 48 libraries, 3 Discovery Centres, 2 local studies libraries, 2 prison libraries and 4 mobile libraries. There are over 2 million items of stock and there are almost 6.5m visits a year. 10% of issues and renewals are carried out online and there is an ongoing programme to install self service which is already available at 16 of our libraries. WiFi is available in all our buildings as well as public computers providing free access to the internet. Customers have access to a collection of reference resources online and ebooks can be downloaded from our web site. Libraries provide attractive and safe places to meet and provide a range of activities from reading groups and IT workshops to classes covering everything from languages to painting. The service recognises Hampshire County Council’s new duty to improve health and coordinate efforts to protect the public’s health and well-being. We have a role to provide health information and signpost to specific agencies. We raise awareness of health issues by having display space for organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society to use as well as creating our own book displays. We hold specific collections of material such as the National Reading Well Books on Prescription Scheme designed to help people suffering from common mental health problems.

24 April 2014
South East
Arts, Recreation, Other
Local Alliances:
Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists a number of outcomes that we are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

 It is recognised that the most important part of a dementia friendly community for those people with dementia is the attitudes they encounter.  Although we pride ourselves on the customer care skills of library staff, there’s always room for improvement and we aim to ensure that we raise awareness of the impact of dementia and how best we can support people suffering from memory loss with the effect it has on every day tasks.

 We would want to extend the level of dementia awareness to the many volunteers who work with us especially our Home Library Service volunteers who exchange library material for customers in their own homes when they can no longer get to the library themselves .  Some of the customers may have memory loss and it is vital volunteers recognise the signs.

In addition we need to ensure that the environment we provide is sympathetic to people’s needs, for example, with appropriate signs for ease of navigation.  In the same way that we have worked with adults with learning disabilities to use libraries as “Safe Places” in their community, we want to promote libraries as destinations that are “Memory Aware”.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

 It will be a challenge to ensure that all library staff and volunteers attend an awareness session.  We anticipate that staff and volunteers will be engaged with the training on offer as they will be familiar with situations where customers have displayed symptoms of memory loss having had trouble communicating clearly or seeming confused by situations.

 Once awareness has been raised, the next step is to promote the fact that libraries are a part of the dementia friendly community.  This could be accomplished as part of a wider initiative in the local community where local retailers and businesses are also involved.

 When considering the dementia friendliness of the physical environment, there may be changes that are easy and inexpensive to rectify but some aspects may be dependent upon funds that are not readily available.


2. Actions

  • Raise awareness of library staff and volunteers

    Description: Work with the Area Coordinators for Dementia Friendly Hampshire so that staff and volunteers are aware of the symptoms of dementia and, as a result, are better equipped to provide the support and patience that people with memory loss need to complete every day tasks.  Incorporate dementia awareness into staff and volunteer induction and other relevant training programmes.

    Implementation, Planning
  • Review how people access our buildings using dementia criteria

    Description: Local management teams to be provided with the relevant criteria in order to judge whether there are things that could be changed which would make a direct impact on the way people with dementia access and navigate the library buildings.

  • Make libraries “Memory Aware” destinations

    Description: Many of our libraries are designated “Safe Places” for adults with learning disabilities.  Libraries are equally good places for people with dementia and the carers to feel comfortable, knowing that staff will recognise their difficulties and adopt a caring and practical approach to help overcome them.

  • Train Library Dementia Champions

    Description: Identify the relevant members of staff who will act not only as experts within the Library and Information Service but also train their colleagues as Dementia Friends and promote the many ways in which libraries and library services can support people with dementia to cope with memory loss and continue to live independently in their community for as long as possible.

    Implementation, Planning
  • Provide accredited information to people with dementia and their carers

    Description: Libraries in Hampshire host and promote the national Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme designed to support people with common mental health problems.   http://www3.hants.gov.uk/library/booksandreading/books-on-prescription.htm

    There is a proposal for 2014 to launch a new range of titles, endorsed by experts, and dedicated to support people with dementia and their carers.  Through on going participation with the scheme, libraries will make the new collection of books available for loan and engage with Clinical Commissioning Groups and GPs to promote their use. 

  • Provide materials to support reminiscence and improve well-being

    Description: The Library Service holds a Reminiscence Collection which includes books, posters, games and quizzes, postcards and photographs which can be used to stimulate and support reminiscence.  We will maintain and extend this collection and also expand the range of the Pictures to Share books which have been proven to improve the quality of life of those with severe dementia and their cares.  See the Social Impact Report, September 2013 http://www.picturestoshare.co.uk/pages/social-impact-report-september-2013?utm_campaign=Library+email+social+impact+report+October+2013&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=