Creative Aging Toolkit

paletteAs the Baby Boom generation reaches the typical age of retirement, a large part of the American population is transitioning to a new stage of life. As people live longer, patterns of work and retirement are changing. How can your library meet the needs of the people in your community making this transition?

The Creative Aging Toolkit for Public Libraries is “a free, online resource for librarians. It offers access to information about aging and libraries, creative aging research, and best practices in the field. The toolkit contains insights, tips, tools and templates to be used when planning, implementing and sustaining successful programs.”

What is creative aging? It’s “the practice of engaging older adults (55+) in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery. This movement is about providing opportunity for meaningful creative expression through visual, literary and performing arts workshops.”

The toolkit walks you through planning and implementing a program, which involves finding and hiring a qualified teaching artist to teach the workshops. They caution that you should not assume “that the role of teaching artist can be assigned to just anyone who has arts or crafts experience, who has exhibited at your library, or who knows your clientele,” and they emphasize that a “key criteria for selection of instructors is the extent to which the artist has had the requisite education and experience to teach sequential learning programs for older adults.”

Naturally libraries in rural North Dakota may find it more difficult to obtain and/or funding the services of a teaching artist than those in larger cities. However, don’t let that stop you from considering other ways in which your library can serve this population.  The site has a number of other resources, other models, and links to related toolkits, as well as sample library models.

Other library programs you may want to check out include:

Have you tried arts programming in your library? Share your stories in the comments!

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