29 October 2019
By Elaine Murphy
This day last week Fermoy Library branch manager Jean Cavanagh was presented with the Age Friendly Charter. Jean is the first Age Friendly Champion for Cork County Council’s Library Services. This new initiative emphasizes service enhancement for older adults in the community, as part of a national strategy to plan for the needs of the country’s aging population. This presentation follows Fermoy Library having been nominated as Cork County’s Age Friendly Library for the National Age Friendly Libraries Recognition Programme.
Fermoy library has recently had an upgrade to its facilities, with the needs of its older customers in mind. An Age Friendly library is a library that understands and responds to the needs of all ages but which makes a special effort to identify and attend to the specific needs of older people.
The Age Friendly Libraries Recognition programme, recently launched by Minister Michael Ring, Department of Rural and Community Development, sets out to encourage libraries to develop in an age friendly way. The initiative was developed in response to a 2016 Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative survey which showed that many older people were not using their public libraries and some reported difficulties with accessibility.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey commented on the initiative:
“Library services are one of the most recognisable ways that Cork County Council engages with the public and are of great importance. Fermoy library being chosen as the pilot library for this wonderful initiative reflects our commitment to our ageing population and to the further development and enhancement of North Cork. We look forward to the success of this initiative and to enhancing services for all of our library users going forward. We aim to extend the Age Friendly initiative to other libraries in the county in 2020”.
Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan added that
“Age should not be a barrier to participating in community life in Cork, and I welcome initiatives which improve inclusivity in the county. Fermoy library will pave the way for initiatives throughout our library services going forward. The Age Friendly Library initiative will go a long way towards ensuring that Cork will be a great place in which to grow old for years to come.”
Cork County Library service already has a range of services with older adults in mind. Each library in the county holds collections of books in large print format and audio books on CD. Library membership is free and provides access to a wide range of electronic resources, e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines and e-newspapers. Online courses in a range of subjects are also free with library membership.
Cork County Library and Arts service runs a programme of events and activities around the county for older adults during the annual Bealtaine Festival in May, with the emphasis on creativity and the arts. Cork Libraries also host a programme of events during Positve Aging Week in October with a wider emphasis on all aspects of aging positively. This year the countywide programme for Positive Aging week included drama, chair yoga, music, and talks on a range of topics of interest to older adults.
Libraries offer a lot more than just books, with many opportunities to socialize, create, interact, and to get involved. Cork County Library and Arts services host book clubs, knitting and craft groups, gramophone circles, workshops, talks, conversational Irish groups, drama and poetry.
More information on all Cork County Library has to offer can be found at https://www.corkcoco.ie/en/