Combining a community’s senior center with a branch of the public library is a trend that’s taking hold in many areas.
In some cases the branch library is embedded in the senior center, but administered by the city’s library staff. The Senior Center Branch in Klamath Falls, Oregon, pictured here, follows this model. Unfortunately, access to the library is limited to just three partial days per week for a total of 9.5 hours per week.
Some communities have built multipurpose centers to provide a variety of services across generations. The Winston Community Center in Winston, Oregon, for example, includes a computer lab, branch library, senior center, volunteer exchange, and community partnership program all in the same building.
In other communities, volunteers organize and staff a library for the senior center. In the Dennis Township, NJ Senior Center, volunteers have developed a color-coded system of categories, entered their holdings in a database, and established two-week check-outs. This library is open five days per week, the same hours as the senior center itself.
Each of these approaches works because they provide inviting spaces where seniors can read, borrow books and, enjoy the company of other seniors. I hope to see this trend continue.