Let's go to the library! Boring you think? Maybe not these days!
The retirement community where I work has a wonderful relationship with our city library. They provide us with a few programs to assist the residents get the books or other material they want from the library. Let me share with you what the library does for us first, and then I will share what the library does for the community that we are able to take part in.
Once a month, we have a speaker from the library come to the community and talk about books that he thinks that the residents will enjoy. He also brings books for the residents to check out if they want to. There is a system with the library and our community where residents can check-out the books from this once a month program, in addition to ordering them over the phone, or order them on-line. The books, no matter which way a resident requests them, are returned to our front desk when the resident is finished, and are picked up once a week by the library's representative. Books being ordered are also brought to the front desk on a weekly basis.
The library also has been a great resource for me as Activities Director. I've had a request for a certain movie or educational video series, and was not able to find it through other avenues. I simply email our community's representative and request it. He then brings it to me when he comes to the community to pick up or drop off books at our front desk. It's a great help and best of all, it is free!
The most exciting part of the library in my city is what they are doing for the city at large. On Sunday afternoons they are offering free concerts, speakers, and meet the author programs. The only things they ask of us is that we go online and reserve a spot for each person attending. They have made it very simple by putting the monthly calendar online. You just go to the event, click on it, and then add your information into the reservation request. I then print out each reservation and give it to the resident attending.
I also have residents who want to go to the library and spend time there on their own. They want to be among the books, be in the quiet setting, do some research on their own, without having to use the Internet, which might be foreign to them, or for many other reasons. I've tried to schedule trips to the library for this kind of "activity," but seldom get the minimum number of participants necessary to get the bus to go from our community. With the special programs mentioned above, I am now able to offer the resident who wants to go to the library a better opportunity of having enough people to go. Instead of going to the "show" they simple go to the library and do their own thing. It has been successful.
While doing research for this article, I was surprised to see that other libraries are not offering programs like the one that is offered in my city. I did find one library who was written up and shares a video of their programs goals. It was in the Gwinnett Daily Post .
I encourage you to check out the library's website in your community, if for no other reason than being able to borrow DVDs, CDs, etc. to help you do your job better. I also encourage you to go to the library and ask them if there is a way to get your residents more involved with the library. Maybe you invite them to come to your community and do a library card registration program, or a program on how to use the Internet to reserve a book, DVD or CD and then build from there.
Yes, my friend, it is time to go back to the library! Did I mention, it's all for FREE! Don't miss the bus on this one.