Posts filed under ‘Posts by Lifelong Fellows’

Creative Age

In Virginia Beach, we have started a weekly program, Tuesdays @ Two, in the afternoon for older adults, though we’re letting people self-select to attend based on the time of day.  Attendance fluctuates with the weather, but this week has been warm and we had 19 people. 

I took the opportunity to experiment.  One inspiration was Gene Cohen’s The Creative Age, which is about much more than the arts but does talk about how his “Liberation Phase” inspires older artists.  I prepared to talk about artists who changed style or methods as they aged, especially how they dealt with disabilities, like Renoir who had rheumatoid arthritis. 

Another inspiration was the movie, In Winter Still, that I saw in the ALA exhibits last summer.  An excerpt is at This is a fictional story about Claude Monet.  The movie went over very well and so did my presentation.  We then proceeded to “paint” a mural with colored paper and glue sticks and everyone got really into it as you can see. 

painting with paper

painting with paper


February 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

Transforming Life After 50 in California – Update

Based on the frequency of my blogging, you might think nothing pertinent to the Lifelong Access Leadership Institute that I attended in 2006 had happened in California…but that’s only because I’m not a very active blogger — we’ve actually been making great strides.

As you may know, based on the 2006 LFF institute I had attended, the California State Library, under the leadership of our State Librarian, Susan Hildreth, designed and launched our own statewide Transforming Life After 50: Public Libraries and Baby Boomers initiative in the summer of 2007. The purpose of our LSTA-funded initiative was to transfer much of what we had learned at the LFF institute to public libraries here in California and assist them in redefining, engaging, creating and delivering new and innovative services to our state’s growing population of active, older adults. A population, by the way, that is expected to grow more than twice as fast as California’s total population, increasing 112% from 1990 to 2020 (8.5 million people)! Our California initiative began with a webcast by national marketing expert, Matt Thornhill, and an invitation to libraries throughout the state from Susan Hildreth to apply to attend a intensive 3-day training later that fall.

Forty-four public library jurisdictions were selected and participated in the Transforming Life After 50 training institute in Pasadena, California in November 2007. The institute was made possible through a partnership between the California State Library, Libraries for the Future, and the California Library Association. Presentations were given by leaders from the fields of health, education, social science, spirituality and aging — including folks like Judy Goggin and Paul Nussbaum as well as other experts from California — sharing many of the concepts we had been introduced to at the LFF institute. The California institute also provided training in community assessment and the utilization of customized assessment tools that had been designed specifically for this project and its target population.

Following the training, participating libraries had the opportunity to undertake a community assessment of their own local boomer populations. Libraries were provided with technical assistance and up to $1,000 reimbursement for costs associated with this activity. Forty libraries commenced the local assessments and thirty were able to successfully complete their assessments in the time allotted (a little over 5 months). These thirty libraries were then eligible to submit a targeted grant proposal of up to $20,000 that would address the opportunities and needs thus identified by their local assessment.  Twenty-six libraries submitted proposals and 24 have now been awarded 2008/09 LSTA funding. (For a complete list of grant recipients go here.)

These targeted grants are intended to enable library jurisdictions to implement promising practices as well as test, refine and help disseminate models. An array of approaches will be undertaken by these funded libraries, including creating new physical and/or virtual spaces and outreach approaches; offering new programs that support specific knowledge, skills and interests of boomers; and forming partnerships that expand the library’s capacity to reach this significant population group.  The specific programs to be implemented range from the creation of a Volunteer Toolkit that will pilot new volunteer opportunities that more accurately reflect boomer interests; a Boomer Information Zone that will provide a dedicated space and resources for boomer networking and re-careering; to Taming Technology forums that will allow users to experiment with and evaluate new technologies.

We’ll keep you posted as these projects unfold and let you know what are the lessons learned, promising practices identified and new solutions discovered. We are also currently building a website where all this information and more will be posted.  We’ll be sure to share that URL just as soon as it is available.  Looking forward to hearing from others as we build and grow this community of lifelong access libraries together!

Suzanne Flint
Library Programs Consultant
California State Library
900 N Street, Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95814

October 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Lifelong Access Ideas in Action in Fayetteville, AR

2008 Lifelong Access Fellow Michele Raine, Manager of Reference Services at the Fayetteville Public Library, writes:

It’s been two months since we were in Chapel Hill together, and I can say that I’ve thought about something we learned there at least once a week since then.  I’m not much of a blogger, but I wanted to share some of what’s happened at the Fayetteville Public Library based on our experiences at the LFF Lifelong Access Institute.

The first change after the LFF Institute was that the library began partnering with the Arkansas Yoga Center to offer free yoga classes at the library. (If you read Vogue magazine, you might have seen the article about the Arkansas Yoga Center in the September 2008 issue.)  We now offer three classes a month, and they are filled through November!  Dr. Nussbaum’s program on brain health was a call to action for me, not only for physical activity, but mental activity.

The second big change in my department since LFF has been my attitude toward roles for volunteers.  I don’t know if you remember my reaction to Jill Friedman Fixler’s discussion on developing meaningful experiences at the library for our volunteers.  Faced with expanding daily tasks and shrinking staff, I was resistant. I think I said something like, “but who will call the holds?”  However, I met with our volunteer manager and in September we began a program called “Reading Road Show for Adults.”  We already had one for kids that took storytime to Head Start centers, but now the Road Show book club meets at the Senior Center once a month.

The Road Show is completely organized and led by volunteers.  Library staff simply checks out a book club kit to volunteers, and off they go.  I also shopped the idea of a walking club organized and led by volunteers. Our library is across the street from the trailhead to one of the city’s walking trails and two blocks from the historic square, which seem like nice walking destinations. I’ll keep you posted on both initiatives.

Finally, we won a PBS grant for a series of programs on social entrepreneurship that will take place in November.  We’ve invited a former winner of the Purpose Prize, Jose-Pablo Fernandez, to come and be the keynote speaker for that series, and I wouldn’t have heard of the Purpose Prize without LFF!

Hope all are enjoying a healthy and productive fall.

October 3, 2008 at 4:38 pm 2 comments

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

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


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