Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

May 30, 2006 > Services for seniors at your library

Services for seniors at your library

by Sallie Pine, Reference Services Manager, Fremont Main Library

Are you an older adult or a caregiver?  Do you have a family member or a friend who might be interested in programs, materials or services aimed at seniors?  If so, the library can be a great resource for them and you.  The library has books in large type format-just the thing for people who find that print seems to be getting smaller and smaller.  We have books on tape and CD.  These are popular with commuters-and also with those who don't like to hold hardcover books for long periods of time, or whose eyesight isn't what it used to be.   If you or someone you know is having hearing difficulties, try one of our movies in descriptive video format.  These provide descriptions of the action you see on the screen as subtitles.  The library has a program called Homeword Bound, in which volunteers deliver books, videos and other materials to anyone who is unable to come to the library.  To sign up or volunteer for the service, call 510-745-1499.  We are a link to the Braille and Talking Book Library administered by the California State Library, who sends out books and audio-visual materials and equipment to your home. We provide the application and can help in filling it out if needed.  Activity directors like to use our Bi-Fokal kits, which are kits of slides, videos, images, music, artifacts and activities designed to stimulate the senses of older adults, to unlock their memories, and to invite them to share their stories. Each Bi-Fokal kit recreates the sensory impressions of a time or topic in history.

We have a special designated place in the library where older people can be comfortable and feel welcome:  the Senior Area.  The Senior Area is located on the right side of the Information Desk. There is a bulletin board with current events, the menus and activities of the Senior Center, and many fliers on issues of care-giving. This area provides access to support and resources, and information to programs provided by the various Tri-City agencies and the city of Fremont. For the adventurous, we have the Elderhostel magazine and travel brochures.

At the Reference and Information desks, our reference staff provides information services to seniors in the community through our online resources and by searching for appropriate library materials in our catalog. We are committed to serving seniors by helping them find services and resources in the community. We make referrals to support services and provide assistance to seniors in accessing those services. We have information on health care systems, in-home care, government programs, educational classes, housing, and social activities.  We partner and network with community agencies, such as the Tri-City Elders Coalition, the Family Resource Center, and the Senior Center to provide an enhanced, coordinated outreach effort to disseminate information and to link community programs serving seniors.

The library has a folding wheelchair and walkers with baskets to provide physical support while browsing for materials.  Some seniors have made use of our TDD station, and our six Internet stations which are equipped with special software for the visually and cognitive impaired. 

We have an intergenerational program called the Teen Senior Web Connection, in which high school students provide one-on-one tutoring on using the internet and e-mail.  For more information on this program, please call our Information Desk at 745-1401.  We also have regular library programming aimed at older adults.  In May, which was Older Americans Month, we had a program where seniors could meet their local county supervisor and talk with local adult services providers, including people from Meals on Wheels, Paratransit, legal services and more.  Over the last year, some programs that were especially popular with older adults (but open to everyone) were line dancing, family history research, consumer protection for seniors, dealing with stress through humor, and a Big Band performance.  We are planning other musical programs for the summer, and in September, Fremont will have a film on senior surfers.  To see all upcoming programming, go to, click on Library Events and choose a branch from the drop down menu.  You can also specify that you only want to see programs for adults and/or programs in a specific month.

Last but not least, we have collected a number of links on our website that are especially useful to seniors.  Go to, and click on the link to Older Adult Services, located in the middle of the page under the heading Library Services.  Scroll down and click on Internet Resources for Older Adults.  On that page, you will see links to learning how to use the web, mouse tutorials, links to Alameda County services, and additional resources such as SeniorHealth, Hospital Compare, and a resource directory from the National Institute of Aging.  Your library: it's for all ages!

Database of the Month: Health and Wellness Resource Center

Your library card gives you access to high quality medical information.  Health and Wellness Resource Center brings together a medical encyclopedia, professional journals, general interest magazines, a medical dictionary, a directory of health organizations, videos, and pamphlets from organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute, all into one place.  There is also extensive information on alternative health methods.  Click on:> Articles and Databases>Health & Medicine>Health & Wellness Resource Center.  The front page looks like this:

You can click on any of the blue boxes to go to the various parts of the database, or just use the search box below the database title, and all parts will automatically be searched.  For example, if you type diabetes into the search box, you will get a result that looks like this:

Information is arranged under the various tabs.  Material under the Reference tab comes up first.  Under this tab, you get articles from the various health encyclopedias and other reference books contained in the database.  There is a separate tab for journals and magazines.  The Pharmacy tab contains articles and other information about various prescriptions, over the counter and alternative therapies for this condition.  The Pamphlet tab for this search contains information from the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, and the National Institutes of Health.  The Resources tab has other information from the Consumer Health Information Source Book.   There are also links to other related topics on the left, and under the database logo are the links back to specific parts of the database.

This is available 24/7 from your home or office, with your library card.  If you don't have one, go to, and click on the Get a Library Card link under the Using Your Library heading.  Print out a copy of the registration form and bring it with you to any Alameda County Library branch with some identification showing your name and current address.  Your library: information beyond the books!

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