Friday, June 08, 2007

Educational Needs of Older Adults

The Kept-up Academic Librarian wrote a post about the new Metlife Foundation grant for a study called “Reinvesting in the Third Age”. The Center for Lifelong Learning of the American Council on Education will be conducting this $400,000 study, which aims to “map the landscape of lifelong learning needs and expectations for older adults, raise awareness in the higher education community, promote greater access and opportunity for older learners, and share best practices and policies among colleges and universities”. Older adults are expected to go back to colleges to learn for their careers and for personal development.

Librarians will need to be ready to help older adults with their classes and to provide additional lifelong learning opportunities. The Winter Park Public Library has a Lifelong Learning Institute that provides extensive programming. This institute has programs in five different categories: Arts & Entertainment, Health & Wellness, History & Current Events, How To, and Vital Living. The Institute does charge for the programs, but there are low cost yearly memberships. By charging for classes, they can offer a wide variety of classes. However, many people will not be able to afford these classes - especially if they are on a fixed income.

Does your library provide lifelong learning classes? Do they charge for them? Do you think that it is a good idea to charge for library classes?

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