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SLIS Graduate Student, Catherine Cottle, at ALA 2009

We were there! USF SLIS sent graduate student Catherine Cottle to the American Library Conference Annual Conference last month to represent SLIS and to attend sessions about our aging population.

(pictured l-r) Laurie Books, IMLS Associate Deputy Director, State Programs; Tony Sarmiento, Chairman, RUSA/RSS Committee on Library Services to An Aging Population; Lynn Kellogg, President, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; and Catherine Cottle, USF SLIS graduate student

(pictured l-r) Laurie Books, IMLS Associate Deputy Director, State Programs; Tony Sarmiento, Chairman, RUSA/RSS Committee on Library Services to An Aging Population; Lynn Kellogg, President, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; and Catherine Cottle, USF SLIS graduate student

While there, Catherine shared the partnership she and USF SLIS created with the West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. The WCFAAA/Public Libraries Partnership for Seniors started in Dr. Kathleen McCook’s class and continues under the guidance of Dr. Stephanie Maatta-Smith. Dr. Kwon, Professor Austin, and Dr. Andrews are also providing ongoing support to bring awareness to students and library staff throughout Florida about our aging population and our patrons’ needs.

Patrons over the age of 65 make up almost 20 percent of our public library patrons in Florida (State Library of Florida, 2004). Florida also has the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 in the United States (U.S. Census, 2008)! The American Library Association provided “A Dialogue With the Aging Network and the Library Community: The New Guidelines on Library and Information Services to Older Adults” at its 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago.

Sponsored by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Reference Services Section’s (RSS) Committee on Library Services to an Aging Population, highlighted how libraries are collaborating with national and local organizations that serve older adults. Participants also discussed RUSA’s newly revised “Guidelines on Library and Information Services to Older Adults.” Speakers included representatives from the American Society on Aging, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and AARP, along with library professionals with expertise in services to older adults.

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