By Nancy Maxwell, Virginia Public Library
Public Libraries + Arts Education + Older Adults = Hat Trick

Arts’ Public Libraries Initiative, a demonstration project funded by
the Institute of Museums and Library Services National Leadership
Grants, is helping libraries in 13 states respond to the demand for
meaningful programs for the growing population of older adult patrons,
according to the blurb in the 2015 MLA program guide.  The session was a
lot more interesting than the blurb.  The best part was learning that
this organization has an on-line toolkit for libraries that simply walks
you through all of the how-to’s of setting up a “creative aging” from
start to finish.  “Creative aging” is the practice of engaging older
adults (55+) in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a
focus on social engagement and skills mastery.  It’s about providing
opportunity for meaningful creative expression through visual, literary
and performing arts workshops; it’s not about making macaroni
necklaces.  The toolkit has library models, blogs and columns, case
studies, experts, funding sources for serving boomers to seniors.  While
most of the programs seem to have been done in New York City and other
larger cities, it seems the concepts would be applicable to anywhere. 
ArtSAGE, “Minnesota’s statewide connector, convener and catalyst for the
field of arts and aging” is available to connect interested libraries
with local, regional and statewide resources for using in this type of

With the use of the regional arts board, ArtSAGE  and the on-line toolkit, a creative aging program is practically handed
to libraries to implement!  More information can be found at: