How do we navigate the death of a loved one or the loss of a pet? How do we discuss a difficult diagnosis? How do we explain divorce to our children? How do we address fears and anxieties surrounding COVID? Now the Anne Arundel County Public Library, in partnership with the Healing Library, offers an abundance of resources designed to help parents and families navigate life’s most challenging moments.
The Healing Library is an organization offering kits specifically designed to facilitate healing through difficult or traumatic events. It was created in 2016 by a group of children’s librarians and social workers as a way to provide valuable insight and resources for common difficulties families may face. Anne Arundel County Public Library has now been provided with eight kits from the Healing Library, all of which deal with the death of a loved one.
Each suitcase-size case contains eight books, several packets of information explaining how to use the kits and materials provided, a list of resources, and packages that families are expected to keep to assist them on their journey. Some of the items in the kit can be kept, including seeds for the “Get Planting” activities, watercolors to go along with the “Watercolor Feelings” activity, a hardcover journal, and sensory items such as bubbles, balloons, and a stress ball. Detailed instructions and descriptions of the activities and materials are provided to ensure families get the most out of their kit and get continued support long after the kit has been returned.
Laura Namovicz with the Severn Community Branch says that the kits are designed as a way to “gather resources in one place for parents to have guidelines and tools to explain difficult topics to their children.” The point of the kit, she says, “is to get started but also connect families to continue on their healing process. Right now with the pandemic, how we deal with grief is changing. Maybe our last good-byes don’t look like what they used to. This is another tool we can use to help navigate in ways that might be able to substitute for things we don’t have anymore.”
Kits can be reserved and checked out in the same manner as library patrons borrow books and other materials. While the Healing Library is based out of the Severn branch, kits can be delivered to any library location. Kits can be reserved by calling your local branch or utilizing the online reservation service. While there may be a waitlist due to the limited number of kits available, the library system and its staff are always available to help locate resources that may assist families with a variety of needs and circumstances.
After a family uses the kit, they are then returned, replenished and sanitized to ensure safety during COVID.
While AACPL currently only has the Healing Library: Death of A Loved One kits available, downloadable activities, information, and resources for COVID-19, The Death of a Pet, Separation and Divorce, and Alzheimer’s and Your Family are available directly at thehealinglibraryus.com
AACPL is eager to share the healing library with members of the community. The librarians are also seeking feedback from families who use the kits to further improve the program.
Loss, grief, and healing are a journey, unique to each individual experiencing them. These kits are a great resource to help get families started on their journey to health and healing.
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