Bay College Library offers books… and sunshine

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Bay College Library Director Oscar DeLong tests a light therapy lamp recently introduced at the library. The lamps are designed to help people who are dealing with mental health issues caused by lower levels of sunlight at this time of year.

ESCANABA — The Bay College Library has recently introduced therapy lamps for library patrons to use. The lamps are designed to help people who are dealing with mental health issues caused by lower levels of sunlight at this time of year.

Library Director Oscar DeLong said the library’s lamps were first set up during finals week for Bay’s Fall 2017 semester last month. The library regularly offers activities and services for students as each semester wraps up.

“Every (semester), the library tries to do something during finals week to help students,” DeLong said. Past initiatives have included food, games, and movies.

The possibility of purchasing therapy lamps as part of these efforts was brought up in a library staff meeting in November 2017. Once the library’s staff decided to go through with the idea, they got in touch with the Campus Activities Board to ask for financial support. The board provided the majority of the funding needed for the purchase of two therapy lamps.

“They provided $400 of the $450 it (cost) to actually get the lamps,” DeLong said. The library paid the remaining $50.

The lamps purchased by the library emit 10,000 lux of light. Lamps like these are thought to help with a variety of conditions, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression.

“There’s lower light levels because of it being dark more often,” DeLong said. The light emitted by these lamps can help counteract the effects of this if used regularly for 20 to 30 minutes per day.

So far, the lamps have not been heavily used by library patrons. DeLong said the library will be taking steps in the near future to increase awareness and usage of this initiative.

“We’re going to be creating a better display for it,” he said.

DeLong said he hopes the lamps can help improve the well-being of people in the area who are dealing with mental health problems this winter.

“These things really hit people,” he said.

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