Library lamps are a part of pilot program designed to provide people afflicted with seasonal affective disorder free access to treatment.

Toronto libraries shed light on winter blues

TPL's pilot project offers treatment for seasonal affective disorder

Toronto Public Libraries are now a place to treat the winter blues.

Select libraries across Toronto are housing light therapy lamps designed to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during the winter months. Two locations, Malvern and Brentwood, have lamps for the public to use.

“The response has been in general positive,” says Tiziano Vanola, manager of the Brentwood branch. “The people who have been offering feedback so far have said, ‘We’re going to come back and use them, it’s been a gloomy winter so far.'”

The lamps emit a bright UV light which simulates daylight.

Patrons can use the lamps while reading or relaxing in the lounge. Pamphlets are provided to instruct patrons on how to use the lamps and provide information about the lamps’ effects.

Symptoms of SAD can include fatigue, weight gain, decreased energy, irritability and feelings of despair and anxiety, according to CAMH’s website.

Vanola says one patron, diagnosed with SAD, told him she was happy to have a place to use the lamps for free.

The pilot program is to continue at the Malvern and Brentwood libraries until April. It is yet to be determined if the program will return next year.