Assisted living libraries

Assisted living libraryMom’s assisted living community has a library for residents. It’s an inviting space with a gas fireplace, easy chairs, and a coffee table.

It’s well organized too. Fiction titles are marked with the first three letters of the author’s last name. Nonfiction is organized by the Dewey Decimal System.

One day I noticed the library was overflowing with books, so I volunteered to work on it. To make room, I pulled out duplicates, books with tiny type, and titles on obscure topics. I found a different home for the coffee table books. And I labeled everything.

At first it was going to be a project Mom and I would work on together. She lost interest after the first day, so I worked on it when she napped.

Here are some tips for managing libraries in assisted living communities:

  • Identify a resident, staff member, or volunteer who will commit to maintaining the library.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull donated books that won’t be read. You can donate them to your local Friends of the Public Library.
  • Surveys indicate that seniors prefer to read light romance, biographies, westerns, mysteries, travel, and newspapers. Don’t allow the library to be a dumping ground for dated textbooks or titles on fringe politics.
  • You don’t need a check-out system. Most likely, you’ll have more books than you need; it doesn’t matter if any given book isn’t returned.
  • See if there’s interest among residents in starting a book group. This can be a fun way to encourage reading and socializing.

Molly S.

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