“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.” ― Walt Disney
At Tapestry we love to see our residents continue to pursue their passions in life, including intellectual pursuits such as film and literature. Staying engaged socially, emotionally and intellectually all contribute to overall wellness and healthy aging.
Two years ago, a group of avid readers at Tapestry at Wesbrook Village (including an author of three mystery novels) decided to share their love of reading with their fellow residents by starting a library. The three women who manage the library now – Di (one of the original founders), Ann and Mary – each have a unique connection to books.
Ann has a Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia (although she didn’t end up working in a library) and took on the organization of the library’s non-fiction genre. She says prior to the library being set up there was a very informal “take one/leave one” system of book borrowing in the Tapestry mail room.
Di is an avid reader who worked in a celebrated bookstore in Montreal called The Double Hook Book Shop, which only carried books authored by Canadians and whose founders received the Order of Canada in 1996. She says the Tapestry library really took off when a large collection of more current releases was donated by two very generous friends. “I happened to have two friends in big houses who bought a lot of books, and they passed them on to me,” Di says.
Mary, who has a background in science, enriched her love of reading by borrowing books from her university English Honours roommate. She curates the fiction section of the library. “I like a good story and I also love a good biography,” she says.
Mary adds that while Tapestry residents can easily head to the local library on the in-house shuttle bus, some newer books there can be waitlisted for several months, which makes the Tapestry library a convenient, on-site alternative. And, while some residents prefer to read on tablets or other electronic devices so they can use a larger font size, Di says there is a large contingent of Tapestry residents who still love the smell of hardy copy books and “prefer to flip pages”.
While the library doesn’t use a catalogue or check in/check out system, it is still a well-stocked source of books in multiple genres with about 500 books.
Donations now come both from friends and from residents of Tapestry, and the library – which shares space with computers which are available for use by any resident – has continued to expand with more shelves added over time to accommodate the growing collection. In fact, even more shelves are on order!
Di says keeping the library up to date is “a team effort” between the three women, and they’ve also benefited from volunteers who help sort new donations.
The three women also select “featured reads” to display, making an effort to pick something that will be of interest to their fellow residents. “Because we are located adjacent to the UBC campus, and many of the people who donate books are well educated, the collection is pretty interesting,” Di says.
Tapestry at Wesbrook Village also has a book club that meets monthly where everyone has read the same book, as well as Book Chats with Jane, a less formal discussion group of recent reads.
Some people read for entertainment, escapism or relaxation, but studies have shown reading is also good for the brain. In a particular study at Stanford University, researchers using MRI scans found that reading books authored by Jane Austen resulted in a dramatic and unexpected increase in blood flow to multiple regions of the brain.
According to another study at the University of Sussex, people who read silently for only six minutes experienced slower heart rates and tension in their muscles was also eased.*
There are a wide variety of programs and activities offered at Tapestry every day designed for different interests and abilities, including diverse intellectual and artistic opportunities such as art classes, choral group, music events, academic and guest lectures. Many of our programs are resident-led, which is a key differentiator for Tapestry. We firmly believe in co-creating a wellness culture that is defined by the interests and preferences of our valued community members.
If you are considering making a move to retirement living, please contact us and we would be pleased to host you for lunch and a tour.
*Credit: Book Sunday