By Diantha Dow Schull
Some of the main engaged and common clients of public libraries are over the age of fifty. they might even be the main misunderstood. As child Boomers proceed to swell their ranks, the habit, pursuits, and knowledge wishes of this demographic have replaced dramatically, and Schull's new publication bargains the keys to reshaping library providers for the recent generations of lively older adults. A must-read for library educators, library administrators, and any info specialist operating in a group environment, this significant book:
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Additional info for 50+ Library Services. Innovation in Action
Next to baby boomers, the fastest-growing segment of the aging population is that segment that is frail and truly elderly. However, the lack of a distinction between infirm and dependent seniors and all other aging adults means that mobile adults of 50 to 80 years—for the purposes of this publication “midlife” or “50+” adults—are not part of the library service equation. They are essentially invisible. The invisibility of midlife adults is reinforced by a lack of distinctions between age groups at the other end of the adult spectrum.
Other libraries are using surveys, focus groups, and advisory councils to learn more about the varied interests of their aging constituents and their capacities for engagement. One of the most promising trends is librarians’ growing understanding that 50+ adults can be assets to their institutions and their communities and can enhance library services by taking on specific tasks that match their unique experiences and skills. Known as “high-value” volunteering, this approach implies new kinds of volunteer recruitment and coordination and new possibilities for enhancement of core services.
Will we see midlife adults using libraries more and differently, or will we see commercial or other enterprises positioning themselves as centers for lifelong learning and social exchange? Will we see more and more boomers and other midlife adults becoming partners with the library in the provision of community library services, or will we see them as threats to the library and the profession? Above all, what kind of institutional and cultural changes will take place within the library to support the work of 50+ services librarians?