Lifelong Access Librarians Share Ideas & Enthusiasm
LFF’s Lifelong Access Libraries Program Manager Diantha Schull writes:
I’ve been delighted and amazed by the creativity and energy of the Lifelong Access librarians I’ve had the chance to speak with recently, all of whom are eager to find new approaches to working with 50+ adults. These librarians are clearly ahead of the professional curve with their Advisory Councils, Partnerships, Community Conversations, and a variety of other programs.
Over the past several months I’ve led several programs on 50+ services, including one in Louisville, as part of the joint National Diversity/Kentucky Librarian Association Annual Conference, and another in Massachusetts as part of the Massachusetts Librarians Association Annual Conference. At each of these meetings I’ve had the opportunity to present with Lifelong Access Fellows and other librarians who have received training in the Lifelong Access Framework. Nancy Aberman of the Reading Public Library and Kate Cosgrove of the New Haven Free Public Library spoke at the Massachusetts event; Susan Irving of the Louisville Free Public Library spoke at the Kentucky event. All these presenters were great! And they are doing great things in their libraries—one of my favorite series is the “Live Wires” program developed at the Reading Library in Massachusetts.
The most recent program I led was titled “Library Services for a New Age—Transforming Libraries into Centers for Boomer Learning and Community Participation,” a special program during the New York Library Association’s Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs. The event, on November 7, included my presentation “50+ Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Librarians,” followed by presentations from two Lifelong Access Libraries Fellows: Brigid Cahalan, recently appointed Older Adult Services Specialist for New York Public Library, and Mark Donnelly, Outreach Librarian, Special Services.
Brigid gave a wonderful presentation that summarized her most important take-aways from the Lifelong Access Libraries Institute in Chapel Hill and the ways in which she has applied these new concepts and practices at NYPL. (See her “Next Chapter” post on this blog). Brigid is a born speaker! No wonder her work is getting so much traction at NYPL—she has spoken to retired librarians in the New York area, to directors and staff of all the branches, and at meetings of various city agencies considering ways to strengthen senior centers and other city services for older adults. Mark Donnelly also captivated the audience with his descriptions of intergenerational oral history projects he is working on with a variety of schools and agencies in the borough of Queens.
The attendance at this program in Saratoga is an indication of the amount of interest across the library community in work with 50+ adults. We expected an audience of 30 or so, but 175 attended, with some standing and others sitting in the hallway outside the room. Participants represented libraries all across New York State, from the North Country near the Canadian border to the Chattauqua area in Western New York, to Long Island and Staten Island and the Hudson Valley. Whatever their size or type of service area, libraries across the Empire state are gearing up for the new generation of active older adults.
The next event will be the New England Lifelong Access Libraries Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, on December 1-2. I am especially looking forward to the chance to hear three “Stories from the Field” along with brief reports on state-based initiatives to support active older adult services in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Stayed tuned . . .