By Kelley Syarto, Photos Courtesy Prince William Public Library System
According to Census Bureau projections, by the year 2034, people 65 or older will outnumber kids 18 and under. This “graying of America” will have profound consequences for all segments of society as we struggle to meet the needs of an increasingly older population with fewer resources to draw upon.
Here, libraries can help. Libraries across the country, including our own Prince William Public Library System (PWPLS), supports older patrons with services and programs designed to accommodate their varying needs and interests, assist them in their pursuit of lifelong learning, entertain them, and inform them.
So much to read (in large print, too!) and listen to:
Our library print collection has all the latest best-sellers, as well as a large nonfiction collection covering subjects such as retirement planning, health and nutrition, cooking for special dietary requirements, caregiving, and mindfulness. As with most of your favorite authors, many of the nonfiction titles are available in large print.
Speaking of large print, did you know that you can adjust the print size when reading e-books available to library patrons through Libby by OverDrive and hoopla digital? Other settings allow you to choose fonts that are more legible; increase the amount of space between letters, words, and lines of print; change the brightness and lighting; and align the text to maximize your reading comfort.
If reading is difficult, why not listen? We have a large collection of audiobooks, as well as movies, television programs, and music, located at our libraries and through hoopla digital and Libby.
Digital options abound:
On the Digital Library at pwcgov.org/library, we also have dozens of Premium Websites—such as Ancestry for Virginians, Consumer Reports, and Universal Class—available for you to pursue hobbies, conduct research, or learn something new.
Surf the library from your sofa:
One of the biggest advantages of the PWPLS Digital Library is its remote access. Register online for a two-year Digital Library card and get access to most digital resources. This is a great new service for people who are not near a PWPLS library or who have mobility or transportation issues.
So, you don’t have to come to the library… but we hope you will. Our libraries are warm, inviting spaces, with friendly staff who love to talk about books. We also offer programs to assist, inform, and entertain you. Do you need help getting hoopla digital or Libby on your device? We have staff who are happy to work with you to get you up and running with our Digital Library or to assist you with any other technology-related issues you might have. Just contact your library to set up an appointment.
Monthly series for older patrons:
While all our community libraries offer programs for older patrons, Central Community Library and Bull Run Regional Library both have monthly series that explore a range of topics, such as stress reduction, scammers, and financial planning for retirement. Additionally, we partner with many organizations, such as the DMV and the county Office of Elections, to bring programs and services to our libraries for your benefit. For the past several years, AARP tax assistants have provided services to older residents at our Bull Run and Chinn Park Regional Libraries.
Programs that appeal to all adults:
In addition to programs for older patrons, we also offer a wide variety of events, classes, performances, workshops, and presentations with appeal for all adult patrons, such as book clubs, writers’ groups, movie afternoons, as well as chair yoga. Simply check out our Explore Magazine for a full listing of programs and events at our libraries. You can also find the information online at pwcgov.org/library. Just click on the green “Events” icon.
Can’t come to us? We’ll look for you in the community:
Library staff visit the county’s two senior centers to discuss library services, local history, and genealogical research. We’ve also stocked the senior center shelves with a collection of recent best-sellers that are “read and returns.” Take a book that interests you, and simply return it when you’re finished, no checkout necessary. Several of our libraries also visit area assisted living centers to bring books, facilitate book clubs, or give presentations to residents.
Tell us what programs or services you’d find meaningful:
Finally, PWPLS formed a Services to Seniors Workgroup to explore the needs and interests of our older patrons and how we could expand our offerings to meet those needs. We would like to hear your ideas regarding programs and services for older adults in our community. To discuss any thoughts regarding the library system’s assistance in meeting the needs of older adults, contact Kelley Syarto at email@example.com.