NY Metro Public Libraries Receive Support for Creative Aging Programs

Westchester Library System (WLS),  and Lifetime Arts, Inc. in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office, announced today the allocation of funds to support instructional arts programs in 41 libraries in the New York Metropolitan area.

In the second year of this two-year program, Creative Aging in New York State Public Libraries: a Regional Model with National Applicability, continues to build on Lifetime Arts’ work with WLS and other public library systems over the last three years. It demonstrates a new and robust model for public libraries to deliver and sustain meaningful instructional arts programs in all disciplines for older adults.

The initiative will ultimately serve up to 1,000 older adults through instructional arts programs in up to 60 libraries in four demographically diverse public library systems:

Seven libraries in the Clinton Essex Franklin System are slated to receive support this spring.

A Creative Aging Tool Kit for Public Libraries

Lifetime Arts provides extensive technical assistance and professional development for participating librarians and artists. Longer term, the project will promote program sustainability through the publication of The Creative Aging Tool Kit for Public Libraries, an online implementation guide.

This free tool kit, to be disseminated nationally by ALA’s Public Programs Office this June, will provide practical guidance on program implementation, partnership development, and funding and sustaining strategies libraries can use to collaborate with artists.

Emerging Field of Creative Aging

The field of creative aging, which focuses on the beneficial and powerful role of the arts in enhancing the quality of life for older adults, is increasingly recognized as an important contributor to positive aging efforts.  By demonstrating approaches for implementing creative aging programs in urban, suburban, and rural library systems, this project will provide replicable models for libraries across the United States.

Reflecting on the success of the program to this point, Lifetime Arts CEO and co-founder Maura O’Malley said,

“What’s been so striking to us, is that the opportunity to learn an art form from a professional is the lifelong dream of so many older adults. That they can connect with others and form lasting relationships making these programs even more valuable, especially with the prospect of isolation facing so many of our oldest citizens.“

WLS Executive Director Terry Kirchner added,

“The Creative Aging programs highlight public libraries’ ongoing engagement and educational importance for people of all ages. The shared learning environment helps participants to develop new skills and to create new friendships. People who have just completed a Creative Aging program often ask when there will be another one available in their community.”

A list of libraries with their Creative Aging programs is available on the Lifetime Arts and WLS web sites.


Lifetime Arts
Maura O’Malley
(914) 355-2304

Westchester Library System

Kate Meyer
(914) 231-3226


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