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Getting Older in New York City

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 806144. New York Public LibraryIf I could choose a time and place to get old(er), I very well might choose the present time in New York City. Why the present? There are just so many of us over 50 at this time in history that I feel I am part of a seething throng (see right). We have power, resources, panache—I could go on and on. Plus, the global Age-Friendly Cities Project, initiated by the World Health Organization, has been gaining momentum and spreading, making the world age-friendlier one city at a time.

And exactly why would I want to age in New York? Our NYC is only the second city in the U.S.—after Portland, Oregon—that has taken up the gauntlet and joined the Age-Friendly initiative. The project here is being coordinated by the New York Academy of Medicine, in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office, the New York City Council, and other stakeholders. Learn more at Age-Friendly New York City also see what the Health Information Center has to say about it.

But there’s more: in late September 2008, The New York Public Library formed a partnership with the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) which oversees most of the senior centers in NYC. Piloting in the Bronx and soon migrating to Manhattan and Staten Island, this move heralds a time of closer cooperation between libraries and senior centers. How are the libraries and senior centers working together? To be continued...

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Wii at Senior Centers

At the branch where I work, we're working with senior centers, showcasing the Nintendo Wii. Seniors at the Erma Cava houses, Pio Mendez houses, San Vincente, Betances Maria Canares houses, and more, have tried out Wii Sports, Mario Kart and Endless Ocean. Senior center staff have expressed interest in getting gaming systems for their centers, and the residents get to learn about a small portion of what the library offers. They are often excited to learn that their grandkids can borrow video games from the branches, and to get a chance to try out some of the games that they've been talking about.

Library/Senior Center connections

Wow, I am impressed! Your branch has done some great work with the nearby senior centers, as well as senior housing facilities. For the non-Bronxites among us, the centers and apartments named are in a mostly Spanish-speaking part of the South Bronx, and the energetic library staff making these connections is the <a href="http://www.nypl.org/branch/local/bx/hsr.cfm" title="Hunts Point Branch Library">Hunts Point Branch Library</a>.

Senior Center Outreach

In addition to engaging local senior citizens with a Wii program a few months ago, we also visited the RAIN/Nereid Senior Center to discuss the materials and services available at the Wakefield Branch Library. We signed center members up for library cards and distributed flyers and brochures, and they were excited to hear that we'd be coming back with books to donate to their center. (The titles they currently have in their collection are quite outdated and/or in poor condition; many of our recently discarded books will no doubt be of tremendous use to them.)

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