2018 NACo Achievement Award
Death Cafes and Bereavement Groups
Awarded by the National Association of Counties
Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) partnered with Alane Ford (formerly Alane Miles) of James River Home Health and Hospice to provide programs dedicated to supportive discussion of death and grief. People of all ages experience the loss of loved ones and colleagues, and, like many other localities, Henrico County is experiencing the effects of the age wave as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement. Facing the need to provide information and support to a population increasingly experiencing grief, and desiring to break through the stigma surrounding conversations of death and dying, Ms. Ford offered her expertise to provide Death Cafés and Bereavement Groups at HCPL. The programs provide a needed community service, leverage the reputation of the library as a safe space to learn and explore ideas, and provide an outreach opportunity for James River Home Health and Hospice. Programs have been attended by community members of all ages, and due to demand, the program has expanded from annual Death Café events into monthly Bereavement Group meetings.