‘Age My Way’: Brooklyn Public Library fair to celebrate seniors, share resources July 15

people look at canvases at brooklyn public library age my way senior resource fair
The Brooklyn Public Library is hosting their annual “Age My Way” senior resource fair on July 15, where they’ll honor a prominent local senior, host activities, and connect older Brooklynites with resources in their neighborhoods.
Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

On Friday, July 15, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Services for Older Adults invites senior Brooklynites to their yearly resource fair for older patrons at the Central Branch on Grand Army Plaza.

Friday’s sixth annual resource fair will follow the theme “Age My Way,” and will explore the many ways senior citizens can participate in and enjoy their communities. The event will include entertainment and educational programs — as well as time for joyful celebration.

“So the whole day’s theme is really called ‘Age My Way’ and so that is just our way of showing how our older adults are aging with their minds and their bodies and their spirits stimulated and educated and entertained by the library,” said Lyman Clayborn, coordinator for BPL’s Services for Older Adults.

The fair will begin at 10 a.m. with opening remarks from Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and a welcome from the library’s staff.

“We also give a proclamation that establishes tomorrow, July 15, as the Older American Celebration Fair at the library. We also give a citation, which we do every year, that honors an outstanding senior or outstanding older American of the library in the past year,” Clayborn said.

After the proclimation and citation, the fair will progress with two simultaneous programs — one based around exercise and the other hosted by Life Story Club, a group that specializes in helping older adults tell their stories.

“So it’s more of like an oral history [or] oral storytelling type program and then on the other side of the plaza we’ll have Tai Chi demonstrations,” said Clayborn. “So basically we’ll have one for people that are more into the mental and one for the people that are into the physical.”

people at brooklyn public library age my way senior resource fair
The annual fair has senior-friendly activities, resources for older Brooklynites looking to engage with their communities, and celebrates one prominent local senior. Gregg Richards/Brooklyn Public Library

At noon, two Latino teaching artists will lead a group in Latin social dance, which usually leads to a large dance party with all the seniors, according to the event coordinators. The afternoon will wrap up with a debate courtesy of one of the library’s newest programs for seniors: a debate club.

“We started a new senior debate program at the library last fall and we’ve continued from fall 2021 until now,” said Clayborn. “We’ll have prizes [and] we’ll have judges.”

Before the fair was forced to take a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event typically amassed a crowd of 400 to 450 people — and the library anticipates a similar crowd this year. 

Clayborn said BPL is pleased to have a reputation for serving the older community and providing events catered specifically to them. The library offers virtual classes tailored to seniors, books and audiobooks by mail for patrons who cannot easily leave their homes, and an ongoing oral history project, where seniors can record their life stories and experiences. 

The library is also a longtime partner of the Lifetime Arts “Creative Aging” program, which trains librarians to work with teeaching artists and provide “creative aging” courses — usually with a participant showcase at the end so seniors can show of their work to friends and family. 

“We’ve provided services and programs for people 50 and older for over 40 years at the library so Brooklyn Public library is special in that there is an actual, dedicated older adults department,” said Clayborn.

For more information, visit the official event invite page.