$500,000 Federal Grant for Expansion of Creative Aging Programs in 22 Library Systems Across 12 States


Westchester County, NY — Lifetime Arts, Inc. and Westchester Library System (WLS) announced today their receipt of a $500,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. Creative Aging in America’s Libraries extends the work of Creative Aging in New York State Public Libraries, which was funded with a $450,000 IMLS National Leadership grant in 2011. This work builds on the past five years of Lifetime Arts’ work with public library systems and teaching artists to improve the lives of older adults through arts instruction.

Designed to improve, expand and sustain creative aging programs in public libraries AND position libraries as community cornerstones for positive aging, the Creative Aging in America’s Libraries project will serve up to 150 librarians in 22 library systems across 12 states who will form the inaugural cohort of Lifetime Arts Affiliates. Major project partners include AARP Foundation and Selfhelp Community Services.

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A recent Lifetime Arts creative aging program at Grove Hall branch of the Boston Public Library

Increasingly recognized as an important contributor to positive aging efforts, the field of creative aging focuses on the beneficial and powerful role of participatory arts education in enhancing the quality of life for older adults. American librarians have lacked arts-based program models, exposure to new knowledge on aging, and the resources required to offer sustainable, interactive programs. Now, with Lifetime Arts’ capacity-building initiative, they will have access to expert technical assistance and peer support necessary to create meaningful programming for the growing and increasingly diverse aging American population.

Creative Aging in America’s Libraries will provide a practical, replicable and sustainable approach for transforming older adult library services to align with new knowledge, societal priorities and collaborative practice. As members of the Lifetime Arts Affiliate Network, librarians will participate in in-depth training, receive ongoing technical assistance, participate in a national peer network and receive support to implement programs in their communities.

The first cohort of Affiliates will include public libraries in: Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe, AZ; Sacramento and San Diego, CA; Boulder and Pikes Peak, CO; Hartford and New Haven, CT; Miami-Dade, FL; Portland, ME; Boston and Somerville, MA; Brooklyn, Westchester and Queens in NY; Cuyahoga and Dayton-Metro, OH; Beaverton City, Cedar Mill and North Plains, OR; Allegheny County and Philadelphia, PA; and Seattle, WA.

Acknowledging the award, Lifetime Arts CEO and co-founder Maura O’Malley said,

“This significant grant from IMLS will help catalyze a major shift in how public libraries across the country respond to the needs and interests of older patrons. Along with our national partners, library colleagues and collaborating artists, we are eager to get to work and begin the institutionalization of creative aging programs across the country.”

Westchester Library System Executive Director Terry Kirchner added,

“Westchester Library System is so pleased to continue to champion creative aging in public libraries. Continued support from IMLS and this national expansion of the Lifetime Arts model is an important milestone for all of us who are concerned with the role of America’s libraries as centers for positive aging.”

About Westchester Library System

The Westchester Library System (WLS) includes 38 member public libraries located throughout the County and is one of New York State’s 23 public library systems. The mission of the Westchester Library System is to ensure that all residents have seamless access to excellent library service throughout Westchester County. For more information, please visit http://www.westchesterlibraries.org.

About Lifetime Arts

Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization working nationally to promote the creation, expansion and sustainability of professionally conducted arts programs for older adults. Lifetime Arts has gained national recognition as a major contributor to the development of creative aging policies, best practices, and information services, artists training resources, technical assistance, and advocacy.

For more information about Lifetime Arts visit www.lifetimearts.org, call (914) 355-2304, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Visit www.creativeagingtoolkit.org to learn how to plan, implement, evaluate and sustain creative aging programs in a public library setting.