Programming is usually at the top of most professional librarians wish list and we hope to highlight here some of the best programming ideas and practices that have evolved related to serving and engaging mid-life adults. We believe the most successful programming is built upon the skills and knowledge embedded in the other online courses found on this website: Strategic Facilitation, Community Assessment, Partnerships and Collaborations, Volunteer Engagement and Evaluating Results. We encourage you to explore the myriad of resources available through these courses.

Programming designed to serve adults, we believe, can also be an avenue for engaging their skills and passions in making a difference in their communities. For specific examples of TLA50 innovation in library programs, check out our Innovators section. Social media strategies can then enhance programming by effectively informing, connecting and building communities of program participants and contributors. For examples of such strategies, as well as additional programming ideas, check out the online course below.

IMLS Fellowship Course

Engaging Adults through Programming and Social Media

Instructors: Jane Salisbury and Analisa Svehaug
[email protected] and [email protected]

Jane Salisbury is the supervisor of Library Outreach Services at Multnomah County Library in Portland, OR where she has worked, in a variety of capacities, for over the past 25 years. Jane was named a Lifelong Access Fellow by Libraries for the Future in 2006 because of her pioneering work with midlife adults in Multnomah County. She has also given several national presentations on innovative library approaches to serving Baby Boomers.

Analisa Svehaug works at HyperArts Web Development in Oakland, CA where she consults with businesses and organizations of all sizes, helping them engage with their audiences on social networks. She has been the primary architect of the TLA50 Fellowship’s various social media sites.


Sample Program Planning Template

Social Media Scavenger Hunt


With high unemployment among people 50+ in its region, Pierce County (WA) Library partnered with leading public and private sector institutionas to create a jobs center focused on helping midlife adults in career transition.

Book-to-Action is a program model developed by Multnomah County Library in Oregon and now being replicated in libraries throughout California. It builds on the traditional book club concept, but in addition to collectively reading and discussing a book, Book-to-Action enables readers to put their new-found knowledge into action by engaging in a community service project related to the book’s topic. The California State Library website, has more information about the programs implemented in California (including project videos) as well as an online Toolkit with tips, suggested book tiles and potential community partners — to help libraries everywhere replicated this highly successful program model.