Senior citizens (frequently referred to by the more inclusive term “older adults”) are one of the largest and fastest growing demographics in the world. Public libraries have a duty to serve these individuals with the same level of care and opportunity for participation that is afforded to younger generations. This book explores older adults’ values and needs and describes the many ways libraries can serve them in effective ways.
Senior Services Today: A Practical Guide for Librarians is a comprehensive guide to library services for this important community. Chapters cover these critical areas:
While many times libraries tend to allocate budget and funding to flashier, brighter programs aimed at a more youthful audiences, this book shows how and why that same enthusiasm should be applied to crafting an engaging senior services plan. Gone are the conventional days of bingo and knitting circles; while those programs certainly have their place, this books aims to show that seniors also crave fun experiences alongside opportunities to make their own lives easier and more stress free-- and to illuminates how libraries can strike this balance by offering an enriching senior services roster.
Ashley Brooks is a freelance writer and former library assistant from Athens, GA. Ashley was inspired to write this book following years of teaching computer and technology skills to older adults at several libraries and one senior center in rural Georgia. The teaching experience showed her just how helpful libraries can be in improving the lives of older adults in the modern world. She wanted to share her perspectives with other library professionals and provide tips on creating a senior services plan that exceeds expectations.
Chapter 1: Engaging Older Adults in Library Programs and Services
Chapter 2: Understanding Demographic Differences
Chapter 3: Marketing to Older Adults: Strategies
Chapter 4: Programming Ideas for Older Adults in the Modern Age
Chapter 5: Enhancing Technology Accessibility for Older Adults
Chapter 6: Community Outreach: Serving Outside the Library
Chapter 7: Specialty Collections Items
Chapter 8: Continuing the Library’s Relationship with an Aging Population
About the author
Brook draws from her experience working with older adults (or seniors) as a library assistant to identify ways to better serve them. In eight chapters, she identifies common values among older adults while addressing such pertinent topics as engaging older adults, marketing to them, and ensuring that technology is accessible to them. Brooks offers examples of programs that librarians can put into practice right away, including book clubs, senior proms, and programming related to film, oral history, gaming, and genealogy. A common theme throughout the book is the importance of collaboration with existing community partnerships and senior organizations to create exemplary programs and services. Acknowledging that older adults are not a uniform group, Brooks also includes a chapter on demographic differences within this group. The result is a comprehensive guide that will help libraries provide excellent service to a growing and significant demographic. Given that older adults are among the fastest growing demographic groups in the United States, this work will prove valuable. Recommended for all public libraries.
Brooks dismantles the current stereotypes around senior services – producing a researched, attuned approach to the opportunities of a rapidly growing population. Backed by branch experience, these chapters can inspire programs that become touchstones for the older adult community.