Keys to Engaging Older Adults @ your library

Keys to Engaging Older Adults

Tips and tools on assisting older adults from the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

Getting Started

One of the most important steps in building programs for older adults, or any special population, is to conduct a preliminary inventory of your community. Here are a few tips to help you learn more about your community and programs for older adults:

Gather demographic and community information. Use the American Factfinder to find the latest data from the annual American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau (

Check with your local or regional planning entity for current community profiles. These profiles provide a snapshot of a community and contain valuable demographic information.

Review your library’s strategic plan and the community feedback obtained during that process.

There are many local organizations and institutions interested in services to older adults. To help make the library a key resource in services to older adults, try these tips:

  • Identify and reach out to agencies and organizations that share your mission.
  • Become the convener by hosting and promoting partnership meetings.
  • Strive for long-term relationships with community partners. Do not rely only on one-time meetings.

Community partners may include:

  • Local agencies on aging
  • Senior centers
  • Recreation programs
  • Healthcare centers
  • Retired/senior volunteer programs
  • AARP chapters
  • Long-term care facilities

Remember, many other organizations may also provide services to seniors:

  • Faith-based organizations offer social programs and recreational activities.
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  • Colleges and universities offer continuing education classes and cultural programming.
  • Banks and credit unions provide financial education programs as well as  service discounts. In addition, they support cultural events targeting seniors.
  • Utility companies often provide discounted services for seniors in need of assistance.

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