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Light Therapy Lamps

UPDATE: Lamps are available on a seasonal basis, from the end of October through to the middle of March, each year at all locations.

Thanks to the generous support of Library donors, you can now use a light therapy lamp at your neighbourhood library branch! One of the many free mental wellness resources available at your library!

Light therapy lamps are designed to mimic spring and summer light levels as a way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression with symptoms that include fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, weight gain and sleep disorders.

Each branch location (except Glanworth) has a lamp available to use in a designated area. Lamps will be available on a seasonal basis, from the end of October through to the middle of March, each year. Central Library has several lamps available. The lamps cannot be taken out of the library. Lamps are available to use on a first come, first served basis  

Research by the Canadian Mental Health Association suggests that 2-3% of the general population of Ontario have SAD and another 15% have a less severe experience. Light therapy lamps can be expensive to purchase. This service provides all Londoners the opportunity to use light therapy if they require it. This service has been generously funded by Library donors.

How to use a light therapy lamp:

Turn the lamp on and sit, read or work in front of it for 20-30 minutes. For sensitive users, gradual exposure is recommended. Sit about 2 feet away. Face the lamp and allow the light to shine on your face but not directly in your eyes. Do not stare directly into the light. Adjust the angle of the lamp to suit your position.

Are the lights safe to use?

Light therapy is considered to be safe. Side effects are rare and if they occur they are usually mild and can include nausea, headaches and/or eye strain. There are no known long-term side effects of light therapy. If you experience discomfort, stop using the lamp and contact your doctor.

People with certain medical conditions (retinal disease, macular degeneration or diabetes), and those taking certain medications (melatonin, thioridazine, or lithium) should consult a doctor before using light therapy lamps.

London Public Library has a wide selection of books, films and audiobooks on the mental health topics and offers mental wellness programs and services in collaboration with community partners such as CMHA Middlesex.