DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


May 11 2012

How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Grays

by Veronica W

"I'm going to need a hug, Maurice--it's from the A.A.R.P."

I remember it so well. We were “out on the town,” enjoying dinner and a movie. We had just left a restaurant and were standing in line to get our tickets for the movie Taken. When our turn came, my husband stepped up and said “Two seniors for Taken.” The  lovely young cashier looked at me and said  “Two? Really?”  Bless her heart. I smiled at her, while thinking “Senior? Me? Am I really there already?”

What we truly are often differs from how we see ourselves—just ask the author of  How Did I Get to Be 70 When I’m 35 Inside. Inside I am a great singer and when I hear music, songs just well up and burst forth. Unfortunately what comes out is not as wonderful as what I hear in my own head. Not only am I a great singer, but I am lots of great things—and I am forever 30.

There are two schools of thought about becoming a senior. (By the way, when is that exactly? I’ve heard 50, 55, 60, and 65.) The School of Blatant Denial says I don’t look it, I don’t act it and I have all my original teeth. These are the folk whose grandchildren call them clever names that give nothing away. MeeMaw? However people enrolled in The School of Hurray for Senior Discounts can’t wait to get their A.A.R.P. cards and they proudly wear t-shirts proclaiming “50 and loving it!”

Whatever school you attend, everyone reaches a decade marker at some point;  it could be 20, 30, 40 and beyond. Editor Ronnie Sellers has written a book for those who reach the 50s marker and are not sure what to do now that they’re there. The title is 50 Things to Do When You Turn 50.  Judith Viorst wants to know How Did I Get to be Forty…And Other Atrocities. Perhaps it’s turning 30 that has you depressed. (20 is no problem because I have yet to find one 19-year-old who doesn’t want to turn 21.)  For you, there is Ready or Not, Here Life Comes or Time Happens.

Did you meet your most recent decade  by dancing ’til dawn with friends or cowering under the covers, moaning? (The ladies don’t have to tell which birthday if,  like Mae West, they believe “A woman who will tell her age will tell anything.”)  Perhaps, like 101-year-old Virgil Coffman, you decided you only go around once and bought the one thing of which you’ve always dreamed.  Mr. Coffman purchased a bright, “screaming yellow”  Transformers’ special edition 426 hp Camaro. He said, “Once in a while I like to kick it up.”

I know the feeling.  Just about the time I turned 40, my son moved to NY and I appropriated his 5.0 Mustang GT. It was maroon, shiny and very fast, with a spoiler, oversized tires, a black stripe and a varoooom that told everyone I was coming. Bonus—it was a standard!  As I raced teenagers and Andretti wannabes up and down 285, it didn’t matter that I had reached middle age or that my knee ached a bit when I had to work the clutch. Life was good and 40 was just a number.

May is Older Americans Month and the library has a wealth of entertaining and informational activities going on. If the story of Mr. Coffman has struck a cord in you, you also may want to visit a car dealership to see what catches your fancy. Whatever decade you’ve reached, however, it’s worth a celebration.


Apr 28 2010

Are You an Open Book?

by Jimmy L

Have you ever said “I’m an open book”?  Well, for some, it isn’t just a saying.  A few people in Denmark have started a movement known as The Human Library.  Basically, these are organized events where people get to “check out” some books.  The only catch is that the books in this case are actually people.  These books/people converse and answer questions about their lives in an attempt to foster understanding and get beyond stereotypes.  I think the following video was made in the UK (thus the British accents), but it gives a good explanation:

What do you think of this idea?  The DeKalb County Public Library is not organizing a Human Library, but we thought the idea was kind of neat.  However, if you are interested in telling your story, we are organizing a series of StoryCorps style interviews called DeKalb Recorded History – Share Your Story (click for more details).  Please note that this program is geared towards seniors.

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Dec 4 2009

Afraid of mice?

by Lesley B

Scary Mouse2A lot of seniors aren’t comfortable with their computers. They’d love to get email and photos from their families but struggle with the mouse and keyboard. They see the grandkids whizzing around on the screen and think it’s too late for them to learn the trick. Well, it’s never too late to learn something new. I often tell seniors in our computer classes to think back to when they were learning to write and had to figure out how to grip a pencil. Were they writing in cursive right off the bat? They just need to practice. A DeKalb County Public Library card gets you 2 hours of time on a library computer and our page for New Computer Users is a good place to start. From there I usually recommend the Palm Beach County Library System’s Mousercise. This website guides a beginning mouser all around the screen, then through the dreaded double-click, scroll bars, radio buttons and drop-down menus. The exercises aren’t timed and there are no ads or confusing links.

When Mousercise gets dull, what to do next? Any familiar game like Solitaire is a good choice. There are lots of places to play online and many computers have a version already installed. Knowing how to play the game makes it easier for seniors to understand where to move the cursor. WebSudoku offers several skill levels and a timer if you want to increase the challenge. A woman in one of our computer classes enjoyed playing Wheel of Fortune online. Other good choices for a beginning mouser: Bookworm, an addictive word search game with no timer so you don’t have to rush and Thisissand, an unusual website that lets you make sand art (click the gray box to get started). Once a senior gets used to the mouse, there’s no stopping them online. Next click, email or maybe – Facebook?

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Sep 14 2009

Savvy Seniors

by Vivian A

savvysenior_logo1The big S you see on DCPL programming is for Seniors.  Yes, the library has programs geared towards senior patrons (though you don’t have to be a senior to attend).

We offer everything from Healthy Living programs to Senior Movie Times. Here is a sampling:

Here is a list of all our senior programs.


Jul 15 2008

Exploring Technology with Teens

by Amanda L

Last year, the library conducted a survey of adults over 55 about their knowledge and interest in services and programs. Can you guess what was one of the top areas of interest? If you said technology, you were right. With the help of the Senior Advisory board, we created an inter-generational program called Tech Talk: Exploring 21st Century technologies with teens. Two of the Senior Advisory board members specifically mentioned that seniors are on fixed incomes and wanted to learn about and how to use new technologies. Often they hesitate in purchasing new technologies unless they know if it will make their life easier or more enjoyable. This program pairs up teens with older adults to explore and learn about new technology.

Members of the Teen Advisory Board volunteered to be trained and then share their knowledge about a variety of technologies. The two hour training involved exploring learning styles, how to communicate technology concepts and included a demonstration between an older adult and the trainer. The training was an eye opener for not only the teens but also the trainer (me!).

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