Clark State Community College has launched Project Grey Literature, a program designed to provide reading material to local retirement and assisted living communities.
Project Grey Literature is the brainchild of Dr. Sterling Coleman, director of library services for Clark State, who said he initiated the program because of a glaring need he noticed while visiting fellow church members in an assisted living facility.
“I noticed a fellow church member could watch television or participate in a stimulating physical activity, but she had very little to stimulate her mind beyond a copy of Gideon’s Bible,” said Coleman. “Out of compassion, I decided to do something to address this situation not only for her but also for any of the elderly in assisted living facilities who found themselves in similar situations.”
Coleman said the goal of the program is twofold: To provide reading materials to those in need and to expand the Clark State Library’s community outreach beyond the confines of Springfield to include communities throughout Clark, Champaign and Greene counties.
“Angela Henry, circulation assistant librarian at Clark State, saw back issues of magazines as the perfect means to satisfy the information, entertainment and educational needs of the elderly,” said Coleman. “I merely saw the opportunity to fulfill that need in a tangible and positive way by focusing our efforts on assisted living facilities.”
Coleman hopes the program will catch on with other community colleges throughout the state of Ohio. He said typically, many colleges discard back issues or set them out on a “free books” table to be taken by patrons. “Why not give these back issues to those who truly want and need them; to those who may have limited contact with the outside world or a limited knowledge of current events,” he said. “Project Grey Literature is the answer to this.”
Hearth and Home Retirement and Assisted Living in Springfield was the first facility to partner with Project Grey Literature. Coleman said their response was one of enthusiasm. They requested the back issues of College Teaching, Forbes and Prevention & Science News.
Rachel Snyder, activities director for Hearth and Home, said Project Grey Literature is a good idea and residents were excited to receive their first box of reading materials.
“We don’t get a lot of magazines,” she said. “It’s kind of nice that it is available to us. I selected certain ones I thought residents would like. I’m glad it is available, we appreciate it.”
Developmental Disabilities of Clark County and Forest Glen Health Campus have also requested to participate in the program.