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This Port Coquitlam library has a fix for your cancelled beach vacation

it doesn’t involve beaches, sun nor fun — it's a sunshine lamp and library patrons are going crazy for this light therapy

COVID-19 restrictions may have curbed plans for a beach holiday, but in Port Coquitlam you can still get some sunshine — by borrowing a light therapy box from the Terry Fox Library.

Dark days of winter combined with COVID-19 restrictions have made the so-called Sunshine Lamps extremely popular at the local library.

Touted as being able to lift your mood and boost energy, the lamps are flying off the shelves. While there are 150 available to borrow, there is a bit of a waiting list, with 300 people on hold for the devices.

“We obviously hit a nerve. So many are circulating,” said Kimberley Constable, who looks after the Port Coquitlam library.

According to the Mood Disorders Centre at UBC, the devices can be used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs at a certain time each year, usually in the fall or winter.

During light therapy, you sit or work near a device for about an hour, adjusting the intensity as needed.

The Mayo Clinic says the light therapy boxes can begin to work after a few days.


Constable said people can borrow them for two weeks and she speculates that COVID-19 has increased their popularity because people are more interested in self-care.

“It seems like the perfect item,” she said, especially when rainy weather hits and one grey day follows another.

Constable, who grew up in Calgary and wanted to get out of the cold, doesn’t mind the rain but says she sympathizes with people who get tired of it and want a mental health boost.

The Sunshine Lamps are ‘plug and play’, and come with a stand and a survey people can fill out about library services. The Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL), which operates Terry Fox library, also has a #BorrowSunshine contest running until Jan. 31.

For more information, visit their website at …..

According to the library, light therapy is generally safe.  However, there can be side effects such as eye strain, headaches or irritability, which can be relieved by decreasing the amount of time spent under the light.


People who have sensitive eyes or skin should not use a Sunshine Lamp without first consulting a doctor. It is recommended you consult a medical or therapy professional if you have serious depression symptoms.

Sunshine Lamps can be borrowed with an FVRL Card.

The Sunshine Lamps are part of FVRL’s Playground, which offers a variety of STEAM-related learning experiences, including robots and birdwatching kits.