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Library works to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

By , Reporter  |  Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:45 PM

The O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library has been home to a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp for more than a year, but recently reintroduced the lamp on a checkout basis.

Last year, the OSF library kept the lamp at a study table for students to use for free at anytime. However, Diane Knights, associate director of Public Services at OSF Library, came up with the idea of putting the lamp on reserve for students and faculty to check out this fall after not seeing much use at its other location.

<p>A SAD lamp sits on the front desk in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library. While the library used to have the SAD lamp sitting at a table open for students to use, they recently implemented a checkout process to create a more flexible and mobile system for users. (Gabrielle Martinson/TommieMedia)</p>

A SAD lamp sits on the front desk in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library. While the library used to have the SAD lamp sitting at a table open for students to use, they recently implemented a checkout process to create a more flexible and mobile system for users. (Gabrielle Martinson/TommieMedia)

Birdie Cunningham, Wellness Center health educator, said she hopes the new procedure will increase the lamp’s use.

“(The checkout process) made more sense … it freed up a table within a study area in the library, and it just seems like a better way to make it work,” Cunningham said.

Knights said the library had about four people check out the lamp in the first week this past fall.

“I think having it out on the desk on display will encourage people to actually recognize it that it’s here and that they can use it,” Knights said.

The Wellness Center owns two SAD lamps on campus. One is in OSF, and the other will be placed in Keffer Library on the Minneapolis campus next week.

Sophomore Allison Waage said she thinks the lamp would get more use if people knew its function.

Cunningham said SAD is prevalent among students, and the lamp is a great resource for students who suffer during the winter months.

“There are some students that (SAD) definitely affects, and I think it’s a really easy resource for them to use during the times that they struggle from Seasonal Affective Disorder,” Cunningham said.

Senior Tommy Fisk said while the idea of featuring this lamp in the library is a little “ridiculous,” if it helps students, it’s worth it.

“If (SAD) is actually something that is limiting a student’s performance in classes, then I could definitely justify (the lamp),” Fisk said.

St. Thomas isn’t the only college to offer SAD lamps in its libraries. Augsburg offers them too, and Cunningham said other schools could follow suit.

“I think it’s kind of a trend around college campuses to have this availability,” Cunningham said.

Gabrielle Martinson can be reached at mart5649@stthomas.edu.

This item was posted in Featured News, More News, News and has 1 comment so far.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Huber
    Nov. 14, 2012 8:59 PM

    SAD and subsyndromal SAD are very prevalent in climates like ours. Lamps like these are also available for relatively cheap online, and numerous clinical studies have found them to be effective.

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