Grants from the AARP Community Challenge Program Help Libraries Support the Needs of Seniors

Check out the amazing things libraries are doing with the AARP Community Challenge grant!

With adequate funding, libraries can provide specialized programs and resources for older adults.

The American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, is a massive US-based nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for countless Americans over the age of fifty. To accomplish this, they often make generous donations to underfunded and underprivileged communities throughout the United States, which can be absolutely life-changing for those who receive them. Let’s take a look at some of the work they do and how it benefits local libraries.

What Is the AARP Community Challenge Program?

To figure out which areas will benefit most from a grant, the AARP takes applications entailing each area’s plans for the money and makes their decision based on this. This has resulted in the AARP Community Challenge program, in which 3,600 applications were received, 310 candidates were selected, and $3.6 million was distributed among the winners. While the grants were given out to a diverse group of projects, we will focus on the libraries that won grants.


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Central Arkansas Library System Foundation

Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Central Arkansas Library System Foundation plans to use its grant to create crash courses on using smart devices like phones and tablets. These classes are designed to be moved around easily and will be held at nursing homes in the area. 

The goal of these classes? To increase digital literacy among the older generations, for whom rapidly evolving technology can often be confusing and difficult to navigate. With this new knowledge, they’ll be able to operate modern devices with ease, keeping in touch with their families and staying up to date with current events.

Prairie River Library District

Hailing from Lapwai, Idaho, the Prairie River Library District plans to carry out a number of projects with its grant. Its first plan is to construct a covered bus stop near one of the libraries in the area. The bus stop will have a wifi network and will provide senior citizens with a bit of shade while they wait for their bus to arrive.

For their second project, they plan to put together an indoor area specifically designed for the needs of senior citizens. As people getting on in years begin to face challenges related to hearing, sight, and mobility, they have a number of different needs that many libraries fail to address. This library district is fighting to combat that, and this indoor area is only the first step.


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South Side Library of Des Moines

The South Side Library of Des Moines plans to use its grant to provide various accessibility aids to any and all visitors over fifty. From mobility aids to magnifying tools to read smaller print in books to large-print keyboards that will allow older adults to use computers more easily, this library is doing everything it can to ensure that the library remains an equitable place that’s open to all, regardless of age or ability.

Scarborough Public Library

For many aging adults, finding a safe place to exercise is a challenge. Because of this, the Scarborough Public Library will be using its grant to set up a variety of safe walking paths, along with workout programs to accompany them. Senior citizens will be able to use these paths to get some fresh air and exercise, stretch their legs, and get out into the community to meet new people.

Looking to learn more about the many public services libraries provide, how they work with other nonprofits to put their plans into action, and how you can help them? Visit our site at EveryLibrary today!



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