Boomers and beyond: Reconciling the Role of Libraries

Bradford Lee Eden (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




Lee Eden, B. (2011), "Boomers and beyond: Reconciling the Role of Libraries", Collection Building, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 184-184.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The concept for this book grew out of a one‐week institute given to library science students by one of the editors, and the Libraries for the Future's Lifelong Access Libraries Institute created by the other editor. Together, they solicited a number of chapters geared towards the aging US population and how libraries can be proactive and innovative in serving their needs and concerns. The editors' hope is that this volume will serve as a text in library education classes.

The book is divided into three parts: Older Adults: Essential Concepts and Recent Discoveries, Institutional Organizations, and Librarians' Perspectives. In part 1 the main goal is to examine current research on older adults and what we are learning about them as they age. There are five chapters in this section, discussing the implications for libraries and cultural institutions of new patterns of aging, health issues for older adults, library leadership and developmental diversity, the importance of spirituality in an aging society, and work and purpose after age 50. In part 2 the focus is on institutional responses to the growing number of older adults. There are also five chapters in this section, examining issues such as active wisdom and the library's role, how older adults ask information questions, the emerging role of cultural institutions and how they address the needs of older adults, engaging immigrants and building democracy, and the library as place in an aging society. Part 3 asks three librarians how they think that libraries will change within an aging society. The three contributions focus on the various challenges, opportunities and myths related to aging and older constituencies in the library.

This volume is essential reading for any librarians currently engaged with the baby boomer population on a regular basis. Their numbers and information needs will only grow and expand exponentially in the next few years, and it is essential that libraries serving the public anticipate and plan for this increasingly vocal and politically active population.

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