Top-ranked books and information fill three new reference-book sections at the Rappahannock County Library. They are oriented to educate caregivers and readers interested in farming and gardening, and in conservation and nature issues.
Librarian David Shaffer worked with knowledgeable local citizens to select the resource materials.
Aging Together in Rappahannock County, a volunteer group that supports the well-being of seniors, learned that Culpeper Regional Hospital (CRH) would financially support creating a “caregiver” section in the library, said Larry Stillwell, who until recently was assigned by Aging Together to facilitate the group’s activities in Rappahannock and Fauquier counties.
The group identified useful books “covering the myriad aspects of caregiving – from basic medical and safety information, to guides for helping others with safety, daily tasks, emotional and relationship issues, legal questions – you name it,” said Stillwell. Two examples are “Conversations With Those Who Care” and “Where Relationships Matter.” Also in the collection are references containing specific medical, legal, ethical and safety information.
The goal was to give caregivers information they need on many issues related to aging. Stillwell notes that it is a complex and highly challenging job caring for older people and those suffering from illness, dementia or disability. Many county residents are involved in caregiving.
“Luckily, we were able to buy a large selection of books, so I think we covered the topic pretty well,” said Stillwell. “I’m still hoping we’ll be able to add some DVDs and some children’s books about caregiving.”
Stillwell adds that Aging Together in Rappahannock also organizes free caregiver workshops for the same reason – caregivers constantly confront new problems.
“They need information and also support, including that each other’s company,” said Stillwell. The caregiver support group meets at the first and third Thursday mornings of each month at the Link.
Eleven million Americans provide unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Over five million Americans – one of eight Americans over age 65 – have Alzheimer’s disease. It is the fifth-leading cause of death in that age group (and the sixth leading cause for all Americans). As yet, there is no cure.
Farm, food, environment
Donna LaPre, who is known for her horticulture/gardening skill, helped Shaffer to develop this collection focused toward local food farm endeavors that take the well-being of the natural environment into account.
Information is available about heritage breeds of animals, and organic produce. One can learn about green building, permaculture development and planting gardens that are friendly to insects.
The goal was to stimulate thinking about gardening as a means of connecting health, and eating locally and seasonally, in a way that enlivens the community socially and economically.
LaPre worked with other experts to identify top quality books. She and others have donated from personal libraries.
The result is a “cutting edge” book collection offering innovative farming and gardening information and also a few, well researched tomes about the hazards of “factory-food” production such as “Fast Food Nation,” LaPre said. Some of these titles are “Gaia’s Garden”, “Farming With the Wild”, “Putting Food By”, “Green and Living Roofs”, and “Biomimicry.” Readers will also find Orion and YES! magazines. Heidi Eastham of Rucker Farm donated dairy and farming books, and Weston Price’s nutritional research, including seasonal growing journals.
Conservation and nature
Master Naturalist Pam Owen (who also writes the “Wild Ideas” nature column for the Rappahannock News) worked with Shaffer to establish a reference section about local native species and ecosystems. A writer and dealer in used nature books, she researched and compiled a selection of materials. While working with the Virginia Master Naturalist program, Owen solicited ideas from other nature experts.
Owen and Shaffer targeted pricier and hard-to-find books on local natural history, since residents would be least likely to have access to these. Also included are guides to identify local species.
She said, “Unsolicited grants from the Boston Foundation gave us a great jump start on financing the collection,” Owen said.
“As a book dealer, I was able to find good deals on some local and general references such as a nice Sierra Club edition of John Muir’s works and copy of ‘The Ants,’” said Owen.
The Library’s collection on local ecosystems includes “Remarkable Trees of Virginia”; “Virginia’s Birdlife: An Annotated Checklist”; “Mammals of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland”; “Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia.”
Also on the shelf is “Virginia Naturalist,” which is a compilation of local author John Trott’s nature columns.
Owen thinks the collection is off to a good start. She would like to round out some topics with additional materials.
“Our goal is to be selective to ensure the best quality collection,” Owen said. The community is welcome to provide suggestions and donations.