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Active Wisdom


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Overview of excellent library programs serving active older adults. Presented at the Oregon Library Association conference, 2007.

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Active Wisdom

  1. 1. Active Wisdom: Boomers in Libraries Jane Salisbury Abigail Elder Oregon Library Association Conference April 20, 2007
  2. 2. The Boomers are Coming! <ul><li>Boomers defined as those born between 1945-1964 </li></ul><ul><li>Every 8 seconds another baby boomer turns 50 </li></ul><ul><li>Boomer demand will grow exponentially over the next decade </li></ul><ul><ul><li>22 % of current library patrons are 55+ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boomers comprise at least 25% of the population of every state except Utah </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 2014, Boomers will be between 50-70 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What do we know about Boomers? <ul><li>Healthy, active and mobile </li></ul><ul><li>More and more are aging in place </li></ul><ul><li>Seek meaningful engagement in their communities, either paid or unpaid </li></ul><ul><li>Expect to design and manage activities for themselves and others </li></ul>
  4. 4. Adulthood II <ul><li>Active engaged older adults seek: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Welcoming places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaningful activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social and civic connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information and options </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Why Public Libraries? <ul><li>Place: The community’s information and meeting place </li></ul><ul><li>Trust: The most trusted public institution </li></ul><ul><li>Access: 16,500+ public library outlets </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive: No barriers for age, language, belief or economic status </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why Public Libraries? <ul><li>Public libraries already support engagement and learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social and civic space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book Clubs/Public Affairs programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information and navigation assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health and wellness programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computers and computer training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for service </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Challenge for libraries <ul><li>Change service model </li></ul><ul><li>Change assumptions about older adults </li></ul><ul><li>Make B oomers one of the libraries’ priority constituencies </li></ul><ul><li>Consider B oomers as a valued resource </li></ul>
  8. 8. Four components of Boomer friendly libraries <ul><li>Welcoming physical space and materials </li></ul><ul><li>Meaningful programs </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer opportunities that offer learning and growth </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships that build community </li></ul>
  9. 9. Special Spaces <ul><li>Materials of interest to Boomers that is shelved and displayed in an attractive manner </li></ul><ul><li>Clear signs, appropriate equipment, comfortable furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual space that invites exploration and social interaction </li></ul>
  10. 10. Special Spaces and Materials <ul><li>Tempe Public Library (AZ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Café, outdoor patio, meeting space for programs of interest to boomers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Parker Public Library, AZ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lifelong Learning Center includes space for computer use and social interaction. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Westchester Library System, NY </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12 Caregiver Resource Centers in libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support adults caring for other adults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books, tapes, videos, and DVDs available to check out on all aspects of care giving. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Participation through programs <ul><li>Why programs? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Civic engagement & conversation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaningful volunteer work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A Boomer advisory council could help decide what programs, recruit community speakers and resources and help coordinate programs. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Participatory Programs <ul><li>Offered by and for Boomers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boomers can serve on advisory committee to chose and coordinate programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wide variety of topics to meet diverse interests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spirituality, aging parents, re-careering, brain health, travel…. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Participatory Programs <ul><li>Active Wisdom Conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Older adults come together to discuss aging, life experiences, and how they might use their experience and perspective to impact present and future conditions in society </li></ul><ul><li>Advances individual and societal self-consciousness about the nature of aging </li></ul>
  14. 14. Participatory Programs <ul><li>Flyer of Richard Bray’s program? </li></ul><ul><li>Farmington Public Library (CT) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current events discussion, speakers bureau </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kansas City Public Library (KS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participate in annual winter bird survey  </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Boomer Volunteers <ul><li>Meaningful work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanting experiences that will offer growth and new learning. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flexible schedules that allow for travel, family, other obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Honoring Expertise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Titles are important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep current in one’s field </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Boomer Volunteers <ul><li>Chandler Public Library, AZ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Peers assistance with career assessment, development and career changes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multnomah County Library, OR </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizenship Classes </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Partnerships <ul><li>Libraries do not have the expertise for all of these topics </li></ul><ul><li>Many organizations looking to tap into library’s accessibility and trusted reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Resource sharing stretches limited budgets </li></ul>
  18. 18. Partnerships <ul><li>Multnomah County Library Everybody Reads </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Involves bookstores, Portland State University, …. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cleveland Public Library, OH </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Website for midlife adults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnership with Community Vision Council, Cleveland Foundation, and the United Way </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yonkers Public Library, NY </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part of a coalition that hosted a conference entitled, “Mature Workers: A Community Asset.”   </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Active Wisdom and Boomers <ul><li>Already do a great job serving Boomers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand and grow your current services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer Boomers new ways to get involved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t take this age group for granted! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus groups and surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask what they want from the library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask how they want to get it from the library </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Active Wisdom: Boomers in Libraries Jane Salisbury Abigail Elder Oregon Library Association Conference April 20, 2007