CLARKS SUMMIT — With the flick of a switch and a flash of light, guests at the Abington Community Library can now chase away foul-weather doldrums.
Staff at the library recently purchased four special lamps designed to combat seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression linked to changes in the seasons and one that worsens during the bleak winter months. Library staff decided on obtaining some of the lights, dubbed “SAD lamps,” after learning about libraries in the Pacific Northwest and Michigan keeping some on hand to counteract rainy and frigid climes, library Project Manager Renee Roberts said.
The potential for use in Northeast Pennsylvania wasn’t lost on Roberts, who noted winter seemed to overstay its welcome here over the last few years and rainy periods lingered in the summers that followed.
“We have a lot of winter here. Especially in the last few years, there’s been less sunny days,” Roberts said, alluding to the rainy, dreary days that overcast much of the first two weeks of May this year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can cause feelings of depression, low energy, sleep problems and other symptoms. Light therapy — spending time around devices like the lamps at the library — is one treatment doctors can recommend to counteract the disorder. Two of the lamps are posted in the library, one in a reading room there and another in the main library area, for guests to use when they stop by. There are two additional lamps people can take out using their library cards and take home to use, Roberts said.
Library staff purchased the SAD lamps with money raised as part of a year-long fundraiser ahead of the library’s 60th anniversary in January 2020. So far, they’ve raised about $750 through patrons dropping dollars and change into a box at the library help desk and online. Obtaining the lamps was the first goal of the fundraiser. Raising money for furniture to use in the children’s area of the library is the next goal, Roberts said.
Furniture purchased will be for middle-school age children to use during visits to the library, said Laura Gardoski, head of youth services at the library.
To donate to the Abington Community Library as part of its 60th Anniversary drive, visit the library, 1200 W. Grove St., or donate online at lclshome.org by clicking the donate tab and choosing the Abington Community Library from the menu or visit the library’s Facebook page.
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Quiet Your Mind
Obtaining the lamps in May is timely because May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Roberts said. The library will hold a special program, called “Quiet Your Mind,” on Thursday, May 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Drop in during this program to complete a calming art project, meditate on your own, create a ‘zine, or plant a flower to take home. Each person will leave with a packet full of resources and information about mental health. For more information or to register for the event, call 570-587-3440.
About seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
■ Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
■ Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
■ Low energy
■ Problems sleeping
■ Changes in your appetite or weight
■ Feeling sluggish or agitated
■ Difficulty concentrating
■ Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
■ Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
— MAYO CLINIC