“As long as you don’t call me Ma’am”: Older library patron’s views on library programs’ age labels


Chronological age is invariably used as a categorizing tool for spaces, collections, and programs in public libraries. This paper explores older adult patrons’ perspectives on age-based labels for library programming. Fifty-one older adults were interviewed to illuminate the complex function the library performs in their everyday lives. Findings illustrate that age-based language used to describe older adult library programs often differs with participants’ perceptions of how programming relevant to them should be labelled. The language describing library programs can either impede or encourage participation. Insights from this research have the potential to influence LIS practice, education and theory, and, moreover, the experiences of older adults who frequent the library.

Jun 9, 2022 12:30 pm — 1:00 pm