Public libraries need senior reading rooms, part 2

man-readingAs I mentioned in my last post, the public library where I live has children and teen rooms. Books in these areas are categorized by age level: Picture Books for toddlers; Early Readers for grades K-2; Juvenile for grades 3-5; and Young Adult for grades 6-12. Books in the rest of the library are for adults.

I’d like to see libraries develop a similar set of categories for elders who are experiencing cognitive decline. Here are some possible categories that correspond to the three stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

  • Senior reading. This category is for people with mild cognitive decline. Fiction titles would offer simple story lines, a minimal number of characters, and be relatively short. Nonfiction titles would avoid highly technical jargon and provide illustrations.
  • Easy reading. People with moderate cognitive decline typically can’t keep track of the plot and characters in full length novels, so short stories would work best for those who enjoy reading fiction. Highly illustrated magazines and nonfiction books would also be good easy reading choices.
  • Reading aloud. Those with severe cognitive decline can’t read any more, but might enjoy having loved ones read aloud to them. Simple short stories, poetry, and magazine articles would be good choices.

I’m compiling reading lists for these three categories and will post them here soon.


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