Programming Librarian, an online publication of the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office (ALA-PPO), has published a series of 6 blog posts (to date) written by librarians and library directors who have implemented creative aging programs in public libraries over the past year. These programs were funded with grants from Lifetime Arts’ Creative Aging in Libraries Project.
The librarians and directors tell their tales in a vivid, frank manner that conveys all that is involved in coordinating this type of program. Read on!
Melinda Greenblatt, Director at Briarcliff Manor Public Library in Westchester County, NY, wrote about using creative aging programs as an opportunity “to find ways to increase attendance at our adult programs and make our library more visible to the community at large.”
Teaming with the teaching artist she hired, Kim McCormack, Greenblatt conducted an interest survey, figured out space issues, executed a recruitment campaign, and navigated special needs of two nonagenerians who were interested in participating as well as disruptions and complications due to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.
Despite having been faced with some challenges, the first program at Briarcliff was a success and prompted Greenblatt and McCormack to apply for a second grant which they were awarded. Read the full story >>
The Bay Ridge Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which had run a successful visual arts program (work from this program pictured at left) for older adults in 2012, also received funding for a performing arts workshop in 2013.
Of the experience this time around, Xiaoyan Zhou, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, wrote:
The eight-week “World of Music” workshop aims to engage participants through singing to improve their vocal skills, and to gain an understanding of the similarities and differences in music across cultural boundaries. Right now, we have finished half of the curriculum, and the feedback from the students is phenomenal. Many stated that the participation has not only expanded their musical horizons, but has also made them feel more confident.
Before Jessica Cline, Senior Librarian, Art and Picture Collections, at Mid-Manhattan Library, New York Public Library, applied for a Creative Aging in Libraries grant from Lifetime Arts, she reflected on what she knew about her patrons, their interest in past literary arts programs, and selected a teaching artist, Hermine Meinhard, in whom Cline had confidence based on her prior success leading workshops there.
When I reached out to [Meinhard] about the project, she asked what I felt were her strong points of instruction that would be suitable for this workshop, and what resources the library had to support writing poetry. Both of these factors confirmed that she was committed to finding the best way to teach a poetry workshop to older adults in the library setting. Once advertised, the workshop designed for twelve participants filled quickly with individuals of diverse backgrounds and levels of exposure to writing and reading poetry.
Read more about how Meinhard and Cline’s teamwork has led to a successful program and about the plans for a culminating event on May 7, which will take the form of a poetry reading. Read full story >>
November 29, 2012: Rouses Point Dodge Memorial Library (Rural)
Rouses Point Dodge Memorial Library Director Donna J. Boumil wrote about the fact that participants overcame a real learning curve as they progressed through the visual arts program that she offered with teaching artist, Connie Cassevaugh.
Despite the fact that some of the participants had initially felt intimidated by the medium,
Throughout the workshop the student artists gained confidence, motivation, and great enthusiasm toward this art medium. There was a tremendous amount of conversation and encouragement from the student artists and teaching artist. The student artists could not wait to show me their progress and product at the end of each class. There were a few of the student artists who researched this art medium through the internet and books to further educate themselves.
According to Boumil, some “nerves” returned as the culminating event approached. Read the full story to learn how things turned out.
Karen Rappaport, Director of Wells Memorial Library, published an engaging, narrative account of the Observational Drawing class offered at her library by teaching artist, Grace Potthast.
Rappaport’s descriptive prose transports you right into the classroom:
On an autumn morning in the Adirondacks, participants gathered for the third session of a Creative Aging drawing class, chatting and surveying a large drawing hanging in nonfiction. Teaching artist Grace Potthast assembled the class. “Everyone have a drawing board? Paper is over by the supplies, and the cutting board is on the children’s table.” The art students collected their supplies, and Grace gave instructions for a two-minute, timed drawing of the seashells placed on tables around the library. “Keep your pencil on the paper, don’t look at your drawing. It’s not about the drawing. This is to bring your right brain to the forefront.” She mentioned Leonardo da Vinci’s advice that you should look closely at the undulations of line when you’re drawing an object to make it look real. She spoke about line, shape, and proportion, and people focused on the seashells in front of them for two minutes of drawing.
The patrons had fun, learned a lot, found that the sessions flew by, and had their work exhibited at the library in early January 2013. Read full story>>