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Midwest Matters July 20th, 2019
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Dementia Outreach, an NNLM All of Us Public Library Partnership Award

Posted by on July 14th, 2019 Posted in: All of Us, Blog, Consumer Health, From the GMR, Funding, News from the Region, Outreach, Public Libraries, Success Stories


The Greater Midwest Region is pleased to offer one of four All of Us Public Library Partnership Program Awards to Jim DiDonato, Director of Round Lake Area Public Library and Christine Damon, Gerontology/Adult Educator. They will expand upon Tales and Travels, a program that NNLM funded in 2015-2016 and received a 2017 Library of Congress Best Practices Honoree.

Tales and Travel is designed to use library materials to enrich the lives of people with Alzheimer’s Disease. In a comfortable setting, librarians and volunteers lead the group as they read a travel story, browse through picture books, and converse about a chosen country or region of the United States.

“Stigma about dementia often keeps people from seeking diagnosis and treatment; it also precipitates withdrawal from favorite activities and places due to a lack of acceptance. The public library can help to counteract this stigma while increasing community participation by assisting the public to learn more about dementia and by welcoming this group of too-often forgotten people into their facilities,” Jim DiDonato explained.

Library staff and trustees will benefit from training about the disease and about supportive strategies for interacting with people living with dementia. The program includes an introduction to National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources and a dementia awareness curriculum that includes definition and characteristics of dementia as well as an introduction to general communication, library-specific, and environmental strategies that support people with dementia and their care partners. In-person curriculum-based training will be delivered at public libraries in northeastern Illinois, southern Illinois, and southeastern Wisconsin. Evidence shows that in these states, the number of adults over 65 years of age will see increasing rates of  Alzheimer’s:

  • Illinois – 220,000 in 2018 with an expected increase of 18.2% by 2025 to 260,000
  • Wisconsin – 110,000 in 2018 with an expected increase of 18.2% by 2025 to 130,000

Higher numbers of dementia are seen among certain ethnic populations, notably African Americans and Latinos. The Round Lake Area Library serves a large Latino population (38.9%). Culturally humble dementia education and support are especially relevant for engagement and understanding.

Because Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias affect a diverse, substantial, and growing population, the project’s focus on dementia also presents an opportunity for increased public and participant awareness and understanding of the NIH All of Us Research Program to advance medicine and improve treatment and care for all of us. All training and partnering libraries will share information about the research program.

Public libraries taking part in the Dementia & All of Us Research Awareness Program include:

Round Lake Area Public Library (IL), Antioch Public Library District (IL) Fremont Public Library (IL), Warren-Newport Public Library (IL), Whitefish Bay Public Library (WI), Dwight Foster Public Library (WI), Muskego Public Library (WI), Bridges Library System (WI)


The NNLM All of Us Public Library Partnership Award allows for the development of projects and programs that increase access to and capacity to use National Library of Medicine (NLM) and other authoritative health information resources to enable individuals to make informed decisions about their health. Each award recipient receives up to $20,000.

The award also supports the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network (CEN) mission to increase public and participant awareness and understanding of the NIH All of Us Research Program using approved health literacy topics, programs, and materials in support of public libraries providing outreach to populations that meet the NIH Underrepresented in Biomedical Research (UBR) criteria as defined by the NIH All of Us Research Program.

Learn more about JoinAllofUs.org

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Image of the author ABOUT Darlene Kaskie
Darlene Kaskie, MLS, is the All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator for the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM). She supports the National Library of Medicine (NLM) by providing health professionals with access to biomedical information as well as improving public access to consumer health information. She also supports the NIH All of Us Research Program to advance medicine and improve individual treatment, prevention, and care for all by inviting libraries to engage with the network, connecting them with health information community partners, and providing training and funding to help raise awareness of the program. She has her Consumer Health Information Specialization from the Medical Library Association.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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