Check out a S.A.D Lamp for use at the library!
Light therapy lamps at Summit County Library!
Depending on where they live, up to ten percent of Americans suffer from some form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).1 In their role as community spaces, some libraries are helping by providing light therapy lamps, the standard treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
“The idea came about after staff members were discussing their own experiences with seasonal depression and the luck they’ve had with SAD lamps,” explained Megan Bushman, South Branch Patron Services Lead. Director Stephanie Ralph and library staff agreed that this would be a great benefit to offer our Summit County community this winter season. Most libraries running a therapy lamp program report great success.2
Starting January 4, lamps are available for in-library checkout with your library card!
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. Some of those symptoms include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Having low energy
- Trouble sleeping
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Overeating and weight gain
- Social withdrawal and a desire to “hibernate”
Even without an official clinical diagnosis, many people feel downright blue during winter and can relate to the above symptoms. Find more information on the National Institute of Mental Health or learn more about SAD, sleep science, sleep shopping, sleep hygeine and more at the Sleep Advisor.
How the service works
What is a S.A.D. Lamp?
Light therapy is used to replace “lost” sunshine with daily exposure to light from a light box. Getting outside and into natural sunlight can also be a massive mood-booster, so aim to spend some time outside every single day… even if it’s cold.
Where can I use it?
These lamps are available for check out for use in the library at our 3 Summit County Library locations in Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge for use in the library. Each location has 1 lamp, available for use with an appointment. The lamps cannot be taken out of the library.
What do I need to use a lamp for 30 minutes? Call your library to make an appointment on the top of the hour. When you arrive for your appointment, call to be let into the building. Please bring a Summit County Library Card and photo ID. Your card will need to be in good standing, meaning no fines or fees. You will sign this agreement which will be kept on file.
Can all ages check them out?
Yes. Those under 18 will need to have a Youth Card issued, if they do not have one already, and a guardian will sign a S.A.D. Lamp agreement, authorizing the minor to check it out on their own.
How to use a light therapy lamp?
Turn the lamp on and sit, read or work in front of it for 20-30 minutes. For sensitive users, gradual exposure is recommended. Sit about 2 feet away. Face the lamp and allow the light to shine on your face but not directly in your eyes. Do not stare directly into the light. Adjust the angle of the lamp to suit your position. Instructions will be given to you with the lamp.
Why does the library provide it?
Light therapy lamps can be expensive to purchase. This service provides all Summit County Library cardholders with the opportunity to use light therapy for free.
Are the lights safe to use?
Consult a medical provider to understand if light therapy is safe for you and to understand the benefits and the cautions.3 Side effects are rare and if they occur they are usually mild. If you experience discomfort, stop using the lamp and contact your medical provider. People with certain medical conditions (bipolar disorder, retinal disease, macular degeneration or diabetes), and those taking certain medications should be sure to consult a doctor before using light therapy lamps. Learn more here.
The light therapy lamp should not be viewed as a cure, and other measures including staying fit, sleeping well and eating healthy are also very beneficial for treating the symptoms of mood disorders. Use of the lamp is at your own discretion. Summit County Library is not liable for any health issues related to the use of the lamp.
1National Institute of Mental Health (2013). Seasonal Effective Disorder. Retrieved November 9, 2020, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml#pub8
2Koerber, Jennifer. “A Little Light Reading: One Cool Thing.” Library Journal, Library Journal, 27 Apr. 2017, www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=a-little-light-reading-one-cool-thing.
3Fader, Sarah. "Struggling with SAD ? Light Therapy can Help with the winter Blues" Better Help, 5 March. 2020 https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/struggling-with-sad-light-therapy-can-help-with-the-winter-blues/