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Library reaches out to senior citizens

Senior citizens can stay well read with books that Senior Services librarians provide. CONTRIBUTED
Senior citizens can stay well read with books that Senior Services librarians provide. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – Senior citizens, who sometimes must deal with boring routines, can escape to imaginative locales with the help of Senior Services librarians from Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.
These librarians visit nursing homes and assisted-living communities each week.
“What would you do without regular access to books, movies or music? Many assisted-living and nursing homes are not equipped with a functional library,” Laura McPhail said. McPhail works as director of public relations for the library system.
“Senior Services librarians check in books that have been read, check out new books, fulfill requests from the previous week and provide a selection of movies and music perfect for hours of entertainment,” McPhail said. “Your senior loved one in assisted-living truly never knows what adventures he or she could discover when the library visits.”
John Wilson with Village at Oakwood said that reading is much more than an enjoyable pastime for older people. “Studies show reading lowers stress, improves sleep quality, sharpens memory and decision making and may even stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” Wilson said.
“Your tax-deductible gift helps provide opportunity and possibility for the young … and the young at heart” to have access to books, McPhail said.
In another service, the library system is acquiring materials for a new collection in the Sub-regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which is located in the Downtown Huntsville Library.
“Through a generous bequest from a local super-centenarian, the late Mrs. Angelica Wilhelm, we will begin recording and circulating materials of local interest for use by the blind and physically-handicapped patrons,” McPhail said.
A $5,000 donation from Wilhelm’s estate will help to buy materials with a local theme. Library staff will distribute funding across recording equipment purchases, software licensing fees, training costs and minor miscellaneous expenses related to the recording and circulation of this collection.
The National Library Service, parent organization of the sub-regional library, provides materials relevant to national themes and interests but leaves local books and authors largely to the domain of each individual library.
Huntsville-Madison County Public Library will begin this collection with an audio version of a local periodical, “Old Huntsville,” and audio versions of books about the Huntsville and Madison County area. The tentative name of this new collection will be “Angelica Wilhelm Southern Media Collection.”
“Wilhelm was 110 years old when she passed away in July. At the time, she was the oldest known person in Alabama,” McPhail said.
For more information, visit hmcpl.org or huntsvillelibraryfoundation.org.

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