Is the Library Your Key to Longevity?

It turns out that frequent use of your library card can be a key to longevity! Let’s look at some ways that public libraries are helping patrons lead longer, more enjoyable lives.

Although it may come as a surprise, a study has shown that people who read books may enjoy a longer lifespan, even more so than those who only read newspapers or magazines. For avid book readers in the study, this equated to an average of 23 months more of life than those who eschewed book reading! And all you need is thirty minutes a day to see the benefits — although the more you read, the longer your lifespan may be.

So, why does it matter what type of material you’re reading? The answer lies in how engaged your mind is when you’re reading. For most people, optimal engagement occurs when immersed in a book rather than reading shorter content in magazines or newspapers. More excellent cognitive benefits, significantly contributing to a long, healthy lifespan.

And who promotes reading more than your neighborhood library? It turns out that frequent use of your library card can be the key to longevity! Let’s look at some ways that public libraries are helping patrons lead longer, more enjoyable lives.

Help fight for libraries by starting a $5 monthly donation today!

Libraries Champion Reading

Libraries are a space to share books with their communities. Although libraries have expanded their offerings in new and exciting ways, the heart of the library still centers on promoting a love of reading. You’ll find it all — novels, nonfiction, picture books, biographies, magazines, newspapers; you name it! Whatever you like to read, your library has something sure to delight you.

While the most extended lifespans in the study mentioned above are attributed to reading books, reading still benefits participants who read other materials. The most important thing to support your longevity is finding something you love to read and being consistent about it. Remember, just half an hour a day can extend your lifespan!

Your donations help support libraries across the country. 

Libraries Support Healthy Aging

Public libraries provide a public space for people to gather. All are welcome, and all resources are free. There aren’t many places where this is the case. By designing a welcoming environment for people to come together and enjoy reading materials, programs, internet access, and socialization, libraries support the overall health of their community members.

Staying connected to others and engaging your mind through reading and other activities is beneficial for mental and cognitive health, both critical components of healthy aging. People who stay mentally and physically active and socialize with others regularly are less likely to struggle with anxiety, depression, and memory disorders. Take time to visit your library to attend programs. Check out the new book releases, and chat with other patrons or the library staff can help you lead a longer, healthier, happier life.

Libraries Design Programs to Promote Senior Wellness

Many local libraries try to provide programming that meets the needs of all of their patrons, young and old. While you may enjoy attending library storytimes with your grandchildren, signing up for programs designed just for you is also excellent. And suppose you have a loved one or aging parents with a memory disorder. In that case, your library may even offer programs to help you support them.

The Denver Public Library has a dedicated Older Adult Services department that provides programming and resources for people ages 50 and up. Thanks to funding from the NextFifty Initiative, the library system has been able to offer a wide range of virtual and in-person programming for older adults, including memory cafes, qi gong, mindfulness meditation, healthy aging, and workshops on applying for benefits.

The Newark Public Library in New Jersey is helping older adults care for their aging brains to protect themselves from memory disorders and cognitive decline. Their series titled Brain Wellness Wednesdays offers weekly virtual sessions covering topics such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and the importance of sleep for brain health.

The Salinas Public Library in California offers a Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body series in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. Each month, you’ll find an array of virtual sessions covering Alzheimer’s and dementia topics, offered in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Help fight for libraries by starting a $5 monthly donation today!

Libraries Curate Helpful Resources for Older Adults

Whether you find the teeny, tiny print in some books impossible to read or you need some advice about preparing for retirement, your library can help! Librarians love curating resources for their patrons to help connect them with the most helpful information. So, suppose your reading glasses don’t seem to be working as well as they used to. In that case, your librarian can provide you with a list of large print books, so you can keep reading for a healthy lifespan. Suppose you need help stretching your Social Security check to cover your monthly expenses. In that case, your librarian can connect you with financial assistance for seniors.

These are just a few examples, but check out some of the following resource lists curated by libraries throughout the country. Some of the resources included are national, so you may find information relevant for you or a loved one, regardless of where you live.

The Milwaukee Public Library has created a list of resources for older adults, including their large print book selection and programs designed especially for the needs of seniors.

The Canterbury Public Library in Connecticut has put together a Healthy Aging Resources Guide covering national and local resources for seniors. The list covers relevant topics such as senior living options, financial assistance, Alzheimer’s, mental health, and fitness.

The Mesa County Libraries in Colorado have an extensive list of Senior Health and Wellness Resources, complete with links to healthy aging books in the library catalog.

Your donations help support libraries across the country. 

Extend Your Lifespan at Your Local Library

A long, healthy life is not just about eating well and exercising regularly. Your brain plays a vital role in how well you age and can add a few extra years to your lifespan. The best thing is that caring for your brain and supporting your longevity is free when you take advantage of your neighborhood library’s resources. Check out what your public library offers to complement your efforts toward healthy aging!