The Public Libraries Initiative

Libraries, the most universal and most democratic of America’s cultural institutions, are “age neutral” and so appeal to older adults who are reluctant to go to senior centers. Increasingly important as community centers for learning and cultural access, libraries are ideally positioned to evolve as centers for creative aging.

Started in 2008, Lifetime Arts’ Public Libraries Initiative is based on a vision for mobilizing the trusted, information-rich public space of the library to deliver arts education for and with older adults. That vision includes building effective collaborations between teaching artists and librarians and building the capacity of different library systems to carry out and sustain creative aging programs. Our work to date affirms this vision. Teaching artists and librarians find that they share a vision for positive aging and bring complementary strengths to designing and implementing meaningful programs for older adults.

This nationally recognized program provides incentive grants, access to great teaching artists and on-going technical assistance for public libraries. Led by professional teaching artists, libraries implement skill-building workshop series which foster mastery and promote meaningful social engagement – two key ingredients for positive aging. These free programs (in all arts disciplines) help improve the quality of life for participants. At each library, culminating events celebrate the achievements of every participant.


Past Project Overviews:

Partnering Library Systems: