The Library: Not Just for Children or Checking Out Print Books

Has it been a while since you checked out (pun intended) your local public library? Maybe it’s time! The library and library staff are underutilized resources we can use to help our senior loved ones, especially those aging in place, live healthier and more enjoyable lives. We discuss how to make use of these resources in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Radio Show.

Reading is great brain exercise for our senior loved ones (and the rest of us) and regularly using one’s imagination can have positive impacts on brain health. Even if there’s nobody else around, when we get wrapped up in a good book we not alone but in the world our mind creates from our reading. Beyond reading, libraries are a social hub in many communities, providing many opportunities for seniors.

A study by Pew Research reflects that seniors are the only age group in which less than half reported visiting the library in the last year and we think that represents opportunity lost.

Digital Helping Libraries Bounce Back

Yes, libraries suffered significantly from the budget ax in communities struggling to deal with reduced tax revenue but many have bounced back, aided by a combination of digital technology and staff creativity. Digital books, or ebooks, and online databases are being used by public libraries to extend reduced funding to provide, in some cases, even more resources for patrons.

Not only are libraries making ebooks available, but many library staffers are getting hands-on with their customers (which is how they increasingly see their patrons), showing them not just how to utilize library systems but also how to use the customers’ own devices to access the library and then checkout, download and read ebooks. We’ve heard many seniors praise the staff of their local library for making both the library and their own devices more valuable to them.

eBook Benefits for Seniors

The many benefits digital ebooks offer to seniors include, beyond the content of the books themselves, the following and more:

  • Ability to zoom print to make any ebook a large print book or whatever-size-print-you-want book, making reading enjoyment accessible to even more people;
  • Text-to-voice capability in many e-readers means it’s not even necessary to “read” to enjoy an ebook; and,
  • eBook access through libraries’ websites mean it’s not even necessary for many people to go to the library, making ebooks accessible to those unable or without the time to visit the library.

For those who prefer or need to listen to their books we suggest checking out, which has a great selection of downloadable mp3 format books, which are playable on dedicated mp3 players (including iPods), smartphones, tablets and computers. Many of the audio books are priced in line with their ebook counterparts, and at a lower price than print books, putting them within reach of many readers. In addition, has subscription plans for regular readers to bring prices down even more.

 News Items in this Episode

  • Is Driving Okay with Certain Age-Related Blind Spots?
  • Early Parkinson’s Patients May Suffer Some Symptoms in Silence
  • Strawberries, Blueberries May Cut Heart Attack Risk in Women
  • EPA Recommends Radon Testing in January

You also need to check out Kathy’s quick tip on creating a winter emergency kit.

We hope you enjoy this episode of the Senior Care Corner Radio Show and find it provides valuable information. We would love to get your feedback and suggestions to help it make it even better.

Podcast Transcript – so you can follow along or read at your convenience