In 2013, ACLA was chosen to participate in the Creating Aging in America’s Libraries project. This 3-year project is supported by a National Leadership Grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and builds on Lifetime Arts’ pioneering initiative, the Creative Aging Libraries Project.
Designed and administered by Lifetime Arts, Inc., the national project is organized through library systems and brings interactive, educational programs for older adults to libraries with diverse communities across the nation.
ACLA is using this opportunity as a pilot to develop new approaches to programming, new community partnerships and, we hope, expanded use of libraries. Participating libraries in this pilot project are: Sewickley Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Squirrel Hill, Whitehall Public Library, and Wilkinsburg Public Library. Each of these locations is developing an 8-10 week course to be offered in spring of 2015 that will teach its participants a new skill such as drawing, painting, singing, jewelry making, or creative writing. Each course will end with a public event to showcase what participants learned.
Lifetime Arts is supporting this effort through online resources and a variety of training opportunities. Initially library staff managing the program participated in a two and a half day intensive training institute held at the Edith Macy Conference Center in Briarcliff Manor, NY. There we heard from keynote speakers, saw presentations from experts in the field of aging and older learners, and participated in peer networking and experiential workshops. We tapped into our creative selves and wrote short stories, created a visual poetry book and even wrote a traditional Japanese haiku poem! There was even a presentation on “slam poetry” – a first for all of us. All of this was toward a better understanding of the infinite possibilities for engaging adult learners in their libraries.
In addition to the institute, these libraries will participate in a quarterly webinar to gain support for starting the project and developing their programs and tips for how to market their programs to their intended audience.
ACLA is pleased to help county libraries connect to their older adult learners and looks forward to helping shape a new model for participatory and productive life-long learning opportunities.
Creative Aging in America’s Libraries is supported by a National Leadership Grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services in collaboration with Lifetime Arts, Inc., AARP Foundation, American Library Association and Westchester Library System.