Yukon libraries now offer some (artificial) sunshine

Two Yukon libraries now have full-spectrum lights of so-called S.A.D lamps to help ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a new idea to help Yukoners through a cold and dark winter.

Full-spectrum lights offered in Dawson City and Whitehorse

The bright lights imitate the sun and make the libraries a more welcoming public space according to the Yukon Francophone Health Network. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Two Yukon libraries are sunnier places these days — even as the days get shorter. 

The Dawson City and Whitehorse libraries now offer full-spectrum lights, often called S.A.D lamps, which are intended to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The lights were bought by Yukon's Francophone Health Network. The group's director, Sandra St-Laurent, says the idea has been tried in other Canadian cities.  

"Winnipeg and Edmonton were starting light therapy at the library and we thought, 'this is really good for us,'" she says.

St-Laurent says the goal is to make the library a more welcoming public space and also help people deal with lack of light.

"About twenty per cent (of the population) is sensitive to the seasonal depression syndromes and we thought with the limited exposure to light in Yukon it might be even higher here. So it was really relevant to give it a try here," she said. 

Whitehorse has two lamps which can be plugged in anywhere, while Dawson City has one. 

"It just has lots of mental-health benefits," says Taryn Parker, circulation supervisor in Whitehorse. 

"It provides some good light so it's as if the light is coming in from the window or from the sun."


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