The Senior Center Steps Lively? The Library is Lively Already.

May 14, 2008 at 4:44 pm 1 comment

The need for innovation in senior centers continues to be a rallying point for administrations throughout the United States. This topic is addressed in The New York Times article,  “Its Appeal Slipping, the Senior Center Steps Livelier,” March 25, 2008. Competition to attract an aging baby boomer population anticipated by experts as unwilling to visit outdated senior centers has resulted in the necessity to revamp these centers. New services are being offered — including fitness activities, continuing education, volunteer and work opportunities for those not ready for retirement, and more — all in an accommodating environment, without looking institutional.

Libraries, too, are in the process of being revamped to meet the needs of an aging population. Yet, many of the services being discussed have been provided by libraries all along. Library programs and events such as training courses, book clubs and movies, are offered to educate and entertain, independent research is encouraged and supported, and resources for volunteer and work opportunities are readily available. Libraries should, and often do, serve as community centers. Shouldn’t libraries be tapped into more to provide guidance for, and alternatives to, the new models of senior centers being devised? Furthermore, libraries may be better positioned to come up with more palatable nomenclature for an aging baby boomer population who would rather not see themselves as such.

The Pierce County Library System in Washington and the Cumberland County Public Library in North Carolina are examples of libraries working to serve this population in innovative ways.

Guest Blogger: Iris Finkel
MLS Student, Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Marian Fragola  |  May 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I just went to a day-long workshop yesterday about the needs of seniors in Durham. The overwhelming desire/need expressed by the seniors there was for door-to-door, free or low cost, non medical transportation. Seniors said there were many things they would like to do (including, presumably, going to programs at the library), but had no way to get there. This seems like a complicated and expensive problem.


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