Saturday, January 25, 2014

Public Library Use for Seniors

Today's public libraries are the best suited for senior use than at any other time in their history. The reason for this is the rise of the use of computers, mobile and otherwise, in every facet of our lives. This has changed the way libraries look at every facet of what they offer patrons.

First, libraries no longer are book storage places. Rather a sampling of the library's contents are displayed and stored there but most of what patrons' want has to be ordered through placing a hold.  You can place holds online with your library.  It sends you an email when your hold item arrives.

Of course, that only covers actual, physical books, records, movies and so forth and not their digital counterparts.  If you want to "take out" a digital item, such as an ebook or audiobook, you can obtain it online and download it onto the overdrive app.

Then there is the inviting physical space. Libraries want you coming into their buildings to enjoy yourselves, not to store huge stacks of books. Increasingly, inviting centers of activity are created, such as children/grandchildren's areas, atria reading rooms and teen centers. This cabin for example is set up in one library so that the children can play while the adult in charge can sit down in a window and relax and read (back and to the left of cabin). 

If you need to get away by yourself, one of my libraries has a fire burning in its reading room for adults.  You can't get much better than that. Some libraries have even added actual coffee shops right within the library itself or a state of the art coffee machine. Special interest clubs and discussion groups are also offered. 

Outdoor areas are also laid out invitingly around the libraries. This is the gazebo at one of my libraries, which is inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Ice cream socials are held here among other things. Notice I said "one of my libraries."  This is because my library card now covers a consortium of libraries spread over many counties.  I can use as many of these as I want.  They, of course, all have free, high speed internet access. Libraries, of course, also have desktop computers for personal use although I have instead always made use of the easy way I can set up my laptop or iPad for use with a comfortable chair.

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