Tales and Travel



Tales & Travel Memories is an innovative library program that provides services directly to people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, not just their caregivers. Designed by retired academic librarian Mary Beth Riedner and Gail Borden Public Library District staff and volunteers, the series is offered monthly to local memory care facilities. Developed in compliance with the International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with dementia, each one-hour program is designed to engage individuals with dementia both socially and cognitively.

A mixed method study funded by the National Institute of Health proved that the program:

  • Engaged and improved the cognitive and social interactions of individuals with dementia
  • Positively affected the relationship between caregivers and individuals with dementia by providing stimulating activities and reducing the number of stressful interactions
  • Expanded the library’s outreach to an underserved population
  • Decreased stigma and stereotypes of adults with dementia by demonstrating elements of cognition that remain throughout the course of the disease


Tales & Travel Memories program takes persons living with dementia on an imaginary trip to locations across the globe using highly illustrated adult and children’s books along with other library materials. Travelers take turns reading out loud from a folktale, legend or myth associated with the chosen location.  They are also invited to read aloud from a list of interesting facts.  Finally, they browse through carefully selected books which stimulate memories and spark conversations with the volunteers and library staff conducting the program. 

Supplementary materials including music, artifacts from the destination, coloring pages and even food make the program multi-sensory. The one-hour monthly program has been offered at over 15 memory care facilities in the Elgin, IL area.  Circulating kits based on the program have also been made available for those who are living at home.


**To learn more about the Tales and Travel Memories program contact Glenna Godinsky at  ggodinsky@gailborden.info or 847-289-5848.**


At the Library

Traveling kits in rolling carry-on suitcases are available for check-out at Gail Borden Public Library. Kits include several non-fiction books about a destination, examples of music, a DVD, and other items. Smaller in scale than a full program, Tales and Travel Memories check-out kits are designed to provide a program experience in a one-on-one setting. This enables caregivers to engage with their loved ones in new ways, stimulate conversation, and reminisce.

We currently offer 8 check-out kits:
  • Africa
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Mexico   

Click here to view available kits!



In the News

Literacy Awards 2017Tales & Travel Memories was named 2017 Library of Congress Best Practices Honoree — December 22, 2017

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards program honored 15 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. The Tales & Travel Memories program was designated as one of these 15 Best Practice Honorees! Click here to learn more about the Literacy Awards and the 2017 honorees. 

Librarians across the country are invited to replicate this program in their own communities and many have already done so.  There is a Tales and Travel Memories website that contains a free tool box with 12 excursion guides and 31 folktales made accessible through a Creative Commons license. 


 Tales and Travels