Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia

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large_Steve%20head%20shot_0The Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia was established in memory of Stephen T. Riedner by his wife, Mary Beth Riedner, and his sister-in law and brother-in-law, Jane and John Gallick. During his ten-year journey through a young-onset dementia, Steve’s strong spirit was always an inspiration. He was determined to maintain his identity, dignity and independence for as long as possible. He demonstrated by his example that people living with dementia deserve the same respect and consideration as every other human being.

Motivated by his courage, his wife Mary Beth, a retired librarian, began to encourage libraries to expand their services to these often stigmatized and neglected people. Early inspiration came from the Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dementia established in 2007 by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). She was instrumental in the establishment of the ASGCLA Interest Group for Alzheimer’s and Dementia (IGARD). This interest group, now known as Library Services for Dementia/Alzheimer’s (LSDA), became a part of ODLOS when ASGCLA was disbanded in 2020. She has been an active member on the leadership team of this interest group since its inception. She is also the founder of “Tales & Travel Memories” and “Tales & Travel Adventures”, which are interactive book and reading programs for people living with dementia. She has presented at many conferences and has written several journal articles and book chapters. Making libraries, and our society as a whole, more dementia friendly has become her passion.

The Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia presents a citation and a grant of $2,500 each to two libraries to support the creation of new services and/or new programming to directly serve those living with dementia. Applications that describe only existing services or programming are not eligible for this grant. The founder wishes to encourage institutional commitment to serving this population. Grant submissions could include, but are not limited to, projects focused on:

  • Inclusion – welcoming this population into the library/community
  • Staff dementia awareness training
  • Person-centered focus – address unique needs as individuals with their own interests, abilities, and history
  • Literacy activities that promote the use of books and reading as at least one component of programming (which of course can include art, music, exercise, nature, etc. as well)
  • Academic research into reading and dementia
  • Developing partnerships with local organizations that also serve those living with dementia


  1. Applicants do not need to be a member of ALA.
  2. Anyone can apply regardless of nationality.
  3. Projects that have already been implemented are not eligible for this grant.
  4. The President of RUSA is not eligible for the grant during their term in office.

Evaluation Criteria

The award jury is composed of members of RUSA's Achievement Awards and Grants Committee. Each application is evaluated using the following criteria (listed alphabetically):

  • Clarity of the described purpose of the project
  • Degree to which the project outcomes are specific and well-defined
  • Degree to which the proposed budget for use of the grant funds is complete
  • Quality of the stewardship plan for the project
  • Thoroughness of the timeline for the project
  • Thoroughness of the narrative describing the project

How to Apply

Complete the Stephen T. Riedner Grant application form by February 23, 2024. The form asks for the following information:

  • Applicant’s email
  • Applicant’s first and last name
  • Name of the library or institution where the project will be implemented
  • City and state of the library or institution
  • Project title
  • Project description (500 word limit)
  • Project purpose (500 word limit)
  • Project timeline
  • Project outcomes
  • Project budget
  • Plan for stewardship of the grant funds

Questions should be directed to the committee chair, Allan Kleiman,

    Grant Recipients

    2023: East Chicago Public Library and Roddenbery Memorial Library

    2022: Queen Anne’s County Library and Alpha Park Public Library (Queen Anne's Interview) (Alpha Park Interview)