Memory Cafés

Tales and Travel Adventures: Let’s Visit … Chicago
Click here to view the Let’s Visit … Chicago video
To upload the Let’s Visit … Chicago pdf click here

Tales and Travel Adventures: Let’s Visit … California
Click here to view the Let’s Visit … California video
To upload the Let’s Visit … California pdf click here

Tales and Travel Adventures: Let’s Visit … Italy
Click here to view the Let’s Visit … Italy video
To upload the Let’s Visit … Italy pdf click here

Tales and Travel Adventures: Let’s Visit … Austria
Click here to view the Let’s Visit … Austria video
To upload the Let’s Visit … Austria pdf click here

Tales and Travel Adventures: Let’s Visit … St. Louis
Click here to view the Let’s Visit … St. Louis video
To upload the Let’s Visit … St. Louis pdf click here


“Tales & Travel Memories” for In-Person Memory Café

“Tales & Travel Memories” was originally designed in 2008 for persons living in memory care or other assisted living facilities.  However, it has been documented that 81% of those living with a form of dementia actually live in the community, many of them living alone.*  How can librarians provide meaningful programs for this large percentage of people still living at home?  Memory Cafés are one answer. 

Memory Cafés are social gatherings for those living in the community who are usually in the early or middle stages of their disease process, often accompanied by a family member or care partner. These cafés serve as places to have fun, find support, and share experiences.  People living with dementia often experience great social isolation and Memory Cafés have proven to help break that isolation.  Libraries are great places to host memory cafés.  The Gail Borden Library currently hosts two memory cafés , one of which is a bi-lingual English/Spanish café.  Another example is the Library Memory Project where eight public libraries in the Milwaukee and Waukesha counties of Wisconsin have formed a partnership to take turns hosting a monthly memory cafés .  Go to the Memory Café Directory to find a listing of memory cafés in your area.

Tales & Travel programs have made an easy transition to a Memory Café setting.  Mary Beth Riedner, creator of the Tales & Travel program, has been bringing Tales & Travel programs to the Tempe, AZ Memory Café since 2018.  In January 2020 she began offering the program to the Sun Lakes (AZ) Memory Café.  In addition to the basic Tales and Travel activities (described under the “For Librarians” tab), Riedner has added other interactive literacy activities such as choral reading of poetry and singing familiar songs associated with a destination.  Printed copies of the poems and song lyrics facilitate participation.  Sophisticated coloring pages that can be found for free on the Web provide another mode for expression.  A small edible treat related to the destination often completes the session.  There is almost a party atmosphere, but at the same time, the program is always conducted at a pace that meets the needs of the individuals in the groupAll the tenets of the “Facilitation Checklist” still apply. 

“Tales & Travel Adventures:  Let’s Visit… “ for Virtual Memory Cafés

Many in-person Memory Cafés made a quick response to the Covid-19 pandemic and pivoted to a virtual platform in the spring of 2020.  Since Memory Cafés could no longer meet in person, the virtual option made it possible for at least some of the previous audience to participate.

Riedner decided to migrate to an online version of Tales & Travel, dubbed “Tales & Travel Adventures:  Let’s Visit…” in May, 2020 with a first visit to Chicago.  New programs are being created monthly and are available via on-demand videos or as Power Point presentations that can be presented live via a virtual platform.  Links to these files, which are protected by Creative Commons licenses, can be found at the top of this page.

The goals and outcomes for the virtual program remain the same as for the in-person programs:

  • to actively involve persons living with dementia in literacy activities,
  • to elicit memories and to encourage conversations
  • to reduce isolation
  • to improve the emotional well-being of the participants

Just as Tales & Travel Memories was made freely available to libraries and other organizations across the country, the virtual version is also intended for use by any groups or individuals (under a Creative Commons license) that would find it valuable.  

Tales & Travel Adventures, like the original program, is designed as an example of how literacy activities can benefit persons living with dementia.  Anyone is welcome to create their own videos and live presentations using the Tales & Travel Adventures format for their own communities as long as they: 1)  use a travel theme if they want to retain the name, and 2) retain the original goals of the program as outlined above.  There are an endless number of topics other than travel that could engage persons living with dementia in interactive literacy activities. 

* Lepore, M., Ferrell, A., Wiener, J. M. (2017). Living arrangements of people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias: Implications for services and supports. P. 1.  Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/257966/LivingArran.pdf