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A Month of Thanks, a Month of Health

by Laurie Dale Marshall, Adult & Teen Services Librarian
November is a special month. It’s the time we will soon give thanks for family, for friends, for peace, for the gifts of life. Among those joys, we’ll give thanks for our health.

That makes it fitting at the Estes Valley Library that this month has a special focus on health—or more specifically—health literacy.

It’s a program and service goal that has especially been in our purview the last several years. That has come from listening to the public—as you’ve told us that programs on health were an important priority for you. And it’s grown from some important local partnerships, including a simple but mighty acronym called REACH—Rural Estes Area Community Health.

At the library, we particularly like to emphasize that key connection between “health” and “literacy”. In the same way that reading literacy is vital to the ability to succeed and fully participate in life, sustaining our health requires the development of skills to understand and implement practices that enable us to strive for well-being, comfort, energy, and longevity. That encompasses both our physical as well as our emotional health.

Peruse the event listings of this health-themed November and you’ll find three special themes: a thoughtful exploration of end-of-life care, a healing opportunity for those grieving a loss or trauma, and a discussion of food and nutrition.

This Monday, November 6, at 6:30 pm, we invite the public for a film discussion of the PBS “Frontline” documentary profiling Boston surgeon Atul Gawande, the renowned author of a book that has received tremendous attention in recent years: “Being Mortal”. The book is an eye-opening look into the often imperfect relationship between doctors and their patients who are nearing the end of life. After the screening, our partners from the Larimer Advance Care Team will facilitate a discussion. Watch for the second film-series installment, “Dying Wish”, on Monday, November 13. Register to attend at estesvalleylibrary.org.

Both events are part of the larger “What’s Your Plan, Estes Park?” initiative, which seeks to help our community come closer to something achieved in La Crosse, Wisconsin. La Crosse made headlines as the town where 96% of its residents completed their advance directives paperwork, after making end-of-life care a core component of its community conversations.

“What’s Your Plan?” one-on-one appointments are available at the Library—plus kits you can check out to understand the process and begin completing your advance directives.

We’re also pleased to host an extraordinary two-day workshop on November 11 and 12 titled “Transforming the Journey of Loss.” Led by local author Dayle Spencer, these two days will be well-spent and help attendees suffering a loss toward a path of healing and self-restoration. Be sure to register in advance at estesvalleylibrary.org.

Finally, join us Tuesday, November 21 at 7 pm for a screening of the myth-busting food documentary “Hungry for Change”, with a discussion led by nutritionist Chazz Glaze.

November: a month to give thanks, and a month to inspire health. Please join us for these special events.