Archive for September, 2008

The Next Chapter: A 50+ Resource Fair in NYC

2007 Lifelong Access Fellow Brigid Cahalan, Older Adult Services Specialist at the New York Public Library, writes:

Since participating as a Fellow in the 2007 Lifelong Access Institute, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the question of how libraries can contribute to enhancing the lives of active older adults in the community. What tools can we provide to promote civic engagement, healthy aging, and creativity and growth throughout the lifespan?

The New York Public Library has been in a process of transformation, and as part of the changes I’ve been appointed to a newly-created position–Older Adults Services Specialist. I was delighted to learn of my new role, and look forward to putting into practice many of the lessons from the Institute, as well as learning from the experiences of other Fellows–past, present, and future.

NYPL’s Mid-Manhattan Library will be hosting a resource fair entitled The Next Chapter: A 50+ Resource Fair on Saturday, September 27, 2008 from 10 A.M.-3 P.M.  (Click here to see the flyer – PDF, 1 pg).  Seventeen organizations that focus on volunteering and education for New York City’s 50+ population will be sending literature and staffing resource tables. In an adjoining room, representatives from each will have 10 minutes each to speak about the opportunities they can provide.

And yes, there will  be Wii! A library page will be present to give attendees an opportunity to try some of the sports-related Nintendo Wii game products such as bowling, golf and tennis.

Take a look at the flyer to see which organizations will be coming and, of course, if you’re in New York City that day, stop by!


September 19, 2008 at 5:16 pm 3 comments

Fellow Spotlight: Abigail Elder

2007 Fellow and 2008 Stories from the Field presenter, Abigail Elder, is the new “library boss” at Tualatin Public Library . See this article from yesterday’s Oregonian for more about Abigail and her new position.

Congratulations, Abigail, and best of luck with this new adventure!

September 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

3 Minute Overview from Virginia Beach, VA

Carolyn Caywood, 2008 Lifelong Fellow and librarian at the Bayside Special Services Library in Virginia Beach, prepared this 3-minute overview of her Lifelong Libraries project for the Virginia Beach Public Library management team:

Senior Services Plan

Slide 1
Image: Whistler’s Mother at 67

  • What assumptions do we have about “seniors”? [feedback from audience]
  • We need to get past these assumptions and explore possibilities, see positive aspects of aging. What can we as library users hope for, as we grow older?

Slide 2
Image: Westminster Canterbury Calendar

  • Life after 65 has changed. Boomers are better educated, more diverse, and more likely to live through their 70s than any previous generation. But Boomers will not use libraries and reading in the same ways that their parents did.
  • Life for older adults can be a time of liberation, creativity, wisdom, and community-building. Libraries are uniquely qualified to facilitate these positive aspects of aging.
  • The large population who will “age in place” in Virginia Beach will drive public policy decisions about land use, transportation, and tax revenues.We must engage these older adults in support of City services rather than in competition with other service needs.
  • Boomers are predicted to work in retirement and we need to adapt our expectations of volunteering and part time jobs to take advantage of their expertise. We need to support “re-careering” aspirations in addition to leisure reading and lifelong learning.
  • BUT, if this continuing-to-work prediction is wrong, tax revenues will drop while demands on government services will rise, leaving little money for libraries. And many aging Boomers will live in or near poverty.
  • The actions proposed in this plan require time, attention and commitment more than expenditures. Bayside and Special Services Library will use an advisory group of citizens as a sounding-board to evaluate actions. Generally BASS will pilot the action and evaluate it.

September 10, 2008 at 4:32 pm 1 comment

Welcome back to the Lifelong Libraries Blog!

Building on the excitement generated by this summer’s Lifelong Institute, I will be working with Steve Ristau, Hagar Shirman and all of you Lifelong Access Fellows- some 75 of you have participated in one of three national Institutes- to renew this blog and to make it a useful forum for information exchange among you. Our plan is to organize it around fundamental questions or issues that address your efforts to transform community librarianship as it relates to adult services for baby boomers and other active older adults.

Your stories, advice, and support are essential to enrich the growing community of Lifelong Access leaders. To begin. . .

We ended the 2008 Institute with Fellows sharing their “elevator pitches” to key stakeholder groups- their management and staff, advisory or governing bodies, and to boomers themselves. Here is what we heard from the 2008 class:

Making the case to the community:
“Public libraries are essential in helping individuals and communities navigate an ever more complex culture with less and less social social services. If we can successfully engage boomers, they can help ensure that libraries evolve in relevant and cost effective ways for future generations to come and sustain a democratic society of informed, engaged and skilled citizens. Can we count on you to support our library initiative?”

Making the case to potential partners:
“You know we have health information. And because we’re neutral ground and have trained librarians, the information can be trusted. But, did you know the library is also a brain health center? We stimulate minds, connect generations and collect legacies of wisdom. We can reduce unnecessary emergency room visits with information, by reducing loneliness and keeping minds active. Let’s talk about how we can partner.”

Making the case to colleagues and/or the board:
“We’re reaching out to a new and expanded population.This group has high expectations for themselves and for what library services they feel they should be offered. We have such a strong infrastructure for youth services, and we should be bringing an equally strong commitment to our adults as well. This advocacy is important because it has long-term implications due to longer life spans. This is a way to cultivate a powerful advocacy through votes, money, and influence.”

If you have had the opportunity to “make your case” to colleagues, the board, or the community, what were the most effective discussion tools for you? (Fellows from 2006 and 2007 as well may recall how they made their case when they returned home.)

Please click on “add comment” to share your ideas, experiences and stories about both challenges and successes in communicating the importance of new approaches to older adult services.

And, don’t forget to:

  • Look at the curriculum materials from the 2008 Institute posted on the website
  • Send us your recommendations for new resources to add to the website, and
  • Let us know your successes and challenges as you develop your Lifelong Access Library.

The work you are all doing to create new models for older adult services is timely, important and “in the air.” We applaud your groundbreaking efforts.

Diantha D. Schull
Consulting Director, Lifelong Access Libraries


September 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm 2 comments


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