By SARA ARTHURS
They come in by donations or by planned purchase. And they leave offices and clinics in the hands of people who need to read their words.
All around Findlay there are books available in lending libraries operated by nonprofits and other agencies and available to the community, free of charge.
Bridge Hospice’s bereavement services program has a library of books related to death and grief. Some deal with specific topics such as the loss of someone to AIDS, cancer or suicide.
Kim Simonds, Bridge’s director of business development, said books, particularly picture books for young children, can help children cope with death.
“A lot of times with teens they don’t discuss their feelings,” Simonds said.
Jill Gilgenbach, bereavement coordinator, said children “have the emotions and they have the feelings” but don’t know how to express them.
Books aimed at children are also popular at Blanchard Valley Hospital’s breast care center, WomanWise, which has a lending library of books for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Jill Jaynes, director of imaging services, said more people are turning toward electronic communication but there are those who prefer reading books.
WomanWise’s library includes pamphlets from the American Cancer Society as well as books on different aspects of surviving breast cancer. Talking to children is a big issue, Jaynes said.
“How do you tell them? … How do you prepare yourself for their questions?” she said.
Nutrition is another issue and there are a lot of books related to diet and breast cancer, she said. There is a particular emphasis on moving forward from the breast cancer diagnosis to becoming a survivor, “the journey and then the survivorship.”
Books at WomanWise are checked out on the honor system. Borrowers are encouraged to return them within a couple of weeks, but this is not strictly enforced.
At Bridge, Simonds said the lending library has been there for “quite a few years” but the agency has recently been promoting it more. Book recommendations are now made on Bridge’s quarterly newsletter. The current recommendation is “Cloud City,” a children’s book.
Usually books in Bridge’s library are lent to a client, but they are available to anyone in the community. Hospice’s bereavement services are available to anyone who has suffered a loss, regardless of whether the deceased person received hospice care.
“Call us,” she said, adding that hospice also has chaplains and social workers to help the bereaved.
“Everyone grieves differently,” Gilgenbach said. “There’s no right or wrong way to grieve.”
Gilgenbach said most of Bridge’s books were purchased by the agency but some have been donated by families. The person checking out a book is asked to sign it out with their name or telephone number so Bridge can keep track but there is no real time limit on how long they can borrow a book.
WomanWise’s books come from both donations and purchases. Jaynes said some were suggested by the American Cancer Society or the Susan G. Komen Foundation. WomanWise’s staff look at the books to make sure the information is up-to-date and medically accurate.
Jaynes said some people who borrow books are “definitely telling others.” Most often someone hears of the library because they are newly diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it is available to anyone in the community. The library is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Blanchard Valley Health System has some online resources at www.bvhealthsystem.org/cancer.
Cancer Patient Services also has a lending library. Carol Metzger said there aren’t strict rules and if someone wants to borrow a book, keep it, or pass it on to someone else, they can do so. The books come from different places and many are donated.
Metzger, too, said children’s books are particularly sought after. The agency received a donation of children’s books from the University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum.
Other books aimed at adults run the gamut from diet and nutrition topics to memoirs or fiction about life with cancer.
Metzger, when she first became executive director, went through the books and discarded ones from decades earlier that were medically out of date.
The Family Center also has children’s books available. Bud Haas, security officer, said people donate all kinds of books such as those their children have outgrown. Family Center staff checks to make sure they are appropriate.
These books are not for lending, however, but meant to be taken home and kept.
Arthurs: 419-427-8494 Send an E-mail to Sara Arthurs
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