Hello, Everyone! IGARD is happy to share with you the following interview highlighting our second Member of the Month – Marje Doyle! Interview by Mary Beth Riedner: Membership Chair/IGARD
Q. I believe that you recently retired from library work. Please tell us where you last worked, for how long and what your responsibilities were.
A. I was hired as a Reference Librarian at Missoula Public Library in 2006, with an emphasis in adult services and senior outreach. When hired I was tasked with expanding an already active senior outreach program and grew the outreach service from 4 senior residential facilities to 14 and expanded the outreach to include book discussion groups in conjunction with our Big Read programs (every 2 years) and extensive programming around Active Aging Week www.activeagingweek.com. I retired from full-time work at the end of 2015 but returned as an on-call Reference Librarian in January 2017. I get to assist with Memory Café program planning but most of my time is spent making people happy from the reference desk.
Q. How did you get involved in offering library services and programs to persons living with dementia?
A. The Missoula Public Library had been serving the senior population for many years. After being hired and asked to expand their outreach I approached a couple of the local memory care facilities about providing materials from the library that might enhance their in-house programs. Although most were reluctant some welcomed the opportunity to try something supported by an outside source.
I became affiliated with the ALA interest group IGARD as a way of broadening my resource base and also became interested in the Dementia Friendly America initiative. In looking at their library sector materials and the best practices guidelines from IGARD I was able to expand my understanding of what could be offered by the library. Although you are retired, I understand that you still do volunteer work in this important field. What current projects are you working on?
I was invited to provide a 1 hour presentation at the Montana Library Assn Fall Retreat on Libraries as part of Dementia Friendly communities that was well received. I am also preparing a panel on the same topic for the annual MLA spring conference. I am a member of the local Dementia Friendly Missoula committee acting as a library liaison. After I retired I became involved with this group while attending a seminar on current research in Alzheimer’s disease. While talking to others there, including the local Alzheimer’s Association representative, I was surprised to find that they were not aware of the outreach programs being done by libraries across the country to serve community members with dementia. That led to my serving on the committee that focused on educational community outreach. I now strive to help libraries know what can be offered while also making sure that community groups know what libraries can offer so that they work collaboratively and share resources.What role do you think libraries can play in improving the quality of life for those living with dementia?
Research across the board has shown that readers with dementia remain readers and can stay socially engaged for longer if given that opportunity with library programs that facilitate this. Also that the decline of cognitive function can be slowed with programs that maintain levels of social interaction appropriate to an individual’s needs. People living with dementia deserve the services of public libraries as much as anyone in the community so libraries need to include them in their service models. Libraries can go beyond being information warehouses and be community centers that support this aspect of their community’s lives.
Q. What else are you doing in retirement?
A. I sing with the local symphony chorale, am involved with my church, our public library building campaign (2020 completion date), and a local women’s group. A goal of my retirement was to increase my fitness level so I also work out regularly. What are you reading these days?
I am on the reading committee for the Montana Book Award, http://www.montanabookaward.org/, and so have been reading nominees for 2018.
For personal enjoyment I just finished reading Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Hirschman (highly recommend for good writing and excellent portrayal of these two justices).Is there anything else you would like to tell fellow IGARD members about yourself or your work?
My husband and I are both on the Fulbright Specialist list (Sociology/Criminology and Library Science) and will be leaving for Ethiopia the first Sunday in November to work at the University of Gondar for 6 weeks, returning in mid-December. He is helping launch the first Criminology/Criminal Justice program in the country and I will be working with the university libraries on a number of public service related projects. I also hope to visit the local public library and talk with them about public library services in their community