Colrain library expanding health care access with Wellness Wednesdays


  • Lisa White with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in June 2021. White is a regional public health nurse with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG). STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/27/2022 3:47:29 PM

COLRAIN — Modern small-town libraries often serve more roles than simply providing patrons with a wide array of reading material.

In the case of the Griswold Memorial Library, one of those roles entails providing better access to health care through a “Wellness Wednesdays” program set to start July 20.

The program involves monthly drop-in wellness hours, during which public health nurses from the Cooperative Public Health Service of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) will be available for one-on-one consultations.

“Colrain is a geographically isolated community. With the pandemic, it can make it even harder for people to get the access they need, especially for seniors without reliable transportation,” explained Library Director Chelsea Jordan-Makely. “This will mean better access to health care.”

The drop-in hours can be used to teach people how to better manage their health, teach residents how to use their health devices, and perform blood pressure and weight checks. Additionally, residents can bring ticks that have been found attached to their bodies to these drop-in wellness hours to have them tested for Lyme disease.

Wellness Wednesdays will also double as vaccine clinics during flu season. The nurses can also administer COVID-19 vaccines at the library, as well as through at-home visits for people who are homebound.

Wellness Wednesdays will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. While the program will mainly help older residents, Regional Public Health Nurse Lisa White said, “We have a desire to help families with younger children, older adults or any individual who wants to come.”

These drop-in hours will happen monthly to enable the nurses to build relationships with Colrain residents who are interested in the service. With these relationships, White said, the nurses can better help and understand the issues people bring to them.

“This is part of a growing trend of having health care professionals, lawyers and social workers in libraries,” Jordan-Makely said. “In Colrain, we don’t have a lot of meeting places so the library serves many functions.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, White and Meg Ryan, also a regional public health nurse, performed outreach programs similar to Wellness Wednesdays across the area. Although they have been busy with pandemic-focused work for the past two years, the public health nurses are now back to having wellness meetings.

FRCOG and the public health nurses serve 15 towns through the Cooperative Public Health Service. They perform similar wellness checks at other libraries and food distribution centers across Franklin County. Colrain is a new member to the Cooperative Public Health Service.

“We are excited to work directly with Colrain residents,” White said.

The Cooperative Public Health Service is working on numerous projects involving community outreach.

“We are making sure these services are useful to all community members,” White said. “This is whether you are young or old, whether they are facing mobility issues or memory issues. Our services are available for everyone.”

Contact Bella Levavi at or 413-930-4579.


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