Bereavement Support Line 1800 80 70 77

Bereavement Friendly Libraries Project by Kildare Bereavement Network

Bereavement Friendly Libraries Project by Kildare Bereavement Network

The Bereavement Friendly Libraries Project was an initiative by Kildare Bereavement Network.

Libraries can provide a safe and trusted space in local communities. They are a central source of information in a local area. This project involved three events;

What do I say? A bereavement information webinar for library staff

This session provided an online bereavement psychoeducation session for library staff. Nuala Harmey, Family support lead in St Brigids Hospice and network member, spoke about the general understanding of bereavement (how it can affect us, what can help, how you can support others) and some guidelines on how library staff could respond to a grieving customer. Bereavement Network member and bereavement development lead, Amanda Roberts, hosted the Q&A session. During the Q&A session attendees took the opportunity to ask questions such as, what to say to a library customer you know has been bereaved and how to interact with a library customer sensitively when they seek to close an account of a deceased relative – being sensitive while also dealing with practical aspects.

Sixteen library staff attended the webinar on the day and others viewed the recording, which was made available to those who could not attend. All attendees who completed the evaluation survey rated the event as helpful. Attendees found a variety of aspects of the webinar most helpful, such as, the speaker’s style of presenting, the knowledge they gained gave them the confidence to interact with bereaved library customers, knowledge around the grieving process and the practical skills (e.g. what to say and not to say). Some attendee comments include:

‘I now have the correct words, I will feel more comfortable now talking to a bereaved member.’

‘Thank you very much for thinking of library staff for this training and recognising our place in the community as an important and neutral and welcoming space. We do build relationships with our regular patrons, and its useful to have this training as for some older people we might be one of the few people they meet or talk to on a given day. So to have this kind of training is very helpful.

Understanding Grief and Loss as we Age

The Kildare Network hosted a public information in Naas Library which targeted older people who were bereaved and also those supporting an older person who is bereaved. The event included a bereavement psychoeduation input from George Brogan, co-founder of Turas Le Cheile Bereavement Support Services and network member. The talk included an overview of bereavement, including a general understanding of bereavement, what can help, how to support someone and some time was allocated to some questions from the audience. Amanda Roberts, the second guest speaker; works with the bereavement team in Irish Hospice Foundation, gave a quick overview of the services at the event and hosted a Q&A session. Service members hosted their service stands and attendees were given the opportunity to visit the stands, meet with service providers and learn more about the supports they provided. Refreshments were provided throughout.

Over twenty members of the public attended the event and 10 service provider network members hosted stands on the day. All attendees who completed the evaluation survey rated the event positively.

Both network member services and attendees found the event beneficial.


‘Very good speaker and good to talk to other people in the same boat..’

‘It would be great if there were more events on this subject, because this one was excellent.’

Service members:

‘A lot of people are unaware of the various services which are available and this brought a number of service providers together. It also allowed the various service providers to connect with each other and have a point of contact within some of these services’

‘Grief remains a taboo subject and events like this will help to give people the knowledge and the skills to help someone who is grieving’

How do children grieve. An information talk for parents and carers

This in-person event open to the public at Leixlip Library for anyone supporting a bereaved child/ young person through any circumstance – illness or sudden death; and may have lost a grandparent, parent, friend, sibling, relative or teacher. The event included a bereavement psycho education input from a network member Uná Holstead, a systemic psychotherapist at the Curragh Family Resource Center. Úna gave an overview of bereavement and how it affects children in different ways and discussed what supports are available.

After Úna’s presentation there was a Q&A and panel discussion. The panel included Úna, Maura Keating National Co Ordinator for the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, Dr. Amanda Roberts Bereavement Development for the Irish Hospice Foundation and Leigh-Anne Serb Youth Counsellor, for INSYNC Youth and Family Services.

23 members of the public attended the event and thirteen service providers who are network members hosted stands on the day. All attendees who completed the evaluation survey rated the event positively. Some attendee comments included:

“A very informative evening reassurance that I’m doing the right things to support my child”

“Accessible, inclusive, relaxed, lots of material available”

“Brilliant PowerPoint and speakers, would recommend providing these talks in schools and other scenarios”

Members of Bereavement Network