BCPL – Building Skills for Today and Tomorrow

Shaun Davidson has worked in public libraries for seven years, and is currently the adult programmer at Boone County Public Library.

While browsing through the Library’s calendar of events for adults, it is easy to see that we offer plenty of educational workshops, enlightening presentations, and entertaining events. But did you know that these events are also selected to help build the skills that adults need in the 21st century? In 2009, the Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) identified several skills that are absolutely necessary for individuals to succeed in 21st century life and work.

The 21st Century Skills include:

  • Learning and Innovation Skills
  • Information, Media and Technology Skills
  • Life and Career Skills
  • 21st Century Themes such as Civic Literacy, Health Literacy, and Global Awareness

Boone County Public Library supports the goals of ILMS by ensuring that as many of our activities as possible help build these skills in our adult citizens. As a library, we of course offer plenty of learning opportunities that focus on building information and literacy skills. However, many of our activities promote several other skills as well. Our computer classes cultivate critical thinking skills while fostering technology literacy. Hands on workshops encourage creativity and problem-solving capabilities. Book groups and game clubs foster social interaction and communication within our community. Cultural demonstrations and live concerts introduce new forms of expression and advance global awareness.

But why is this important? First and foremost, today’s world is vastly different than it was only a few years ago. Computers are now mobile and fit in the palm of your hand, access to the Internet is a must, technology changes at what seems to be a daily basis, and the world around us is continually getting smaller. The ability to live and work in today’s world depends on utilizing 21st century skills.

In order to help people obtain these skills, public libraries today, including BCPL, provide free learning opportunities for adults who are no longer in formal education or are currently inP1530977 lo res a transition period in their careers. Obtaining new skills as an adult is important because adults’ cognitive abilities continue to develop after they leave formal education. Furthermore, for older adults, educational activities increase the brain’s ability to compensate for age-related changes and regular social interaction is an important predictor of healthy brain aging. As you can see, the benefits of lifelong learning at the Library go far beyond the few hours of being educated or entertained.

For more information about Institute of Museum and Library Studies and the 21st Century skills, visit http://www.imls.gov.


1 – Reder, S. (2009). “The Development of Literacy and Numeracy in Adult Life.” In S. Reder & J. Bynner, Tracking Adult Literacy and Numeracy: Findings from Longitudinal Research (pp. 59–84). New York, NY:

2 – Staying Sharp: Learning as We Age. New York: The Dana Foundation, 2012.


Fueling the Mind and the Body

School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean opportunities to learn, grow, and have fun should stop. In fact, the activities youth engage in outside of school are just as important as what they are exposed to in the classroom and are particularly vital during the summer months when children are most at risk for learning loss. Academic success, however, is also closely linked to children’s health; we cannot expect children to thrive if they lack regular access to nutritious foods.

Since 2011 the Library has partnered with the Boone County School System to provide healthy meals and expanded learning opportunities to children under the age of 18 in the city of Florence. The collaboration continues and is supported, in part, by grant funds awarded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA). This summer children can enjoy stories, games, fun activities, and a free meal at the Florence Branch, 7425 US 42, Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free dinners will be offered twice a week through the Library’s Community Center on Wheels (CCoW) outreach vehicle at two separate locations.  Meals and family activities will be provided at White Pine Village, 10201 Dixie Highway in Florence on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and at Mosby’s Point Mobile Homes, 10367 Garden Drive in Florence on Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The Freestore Foodbank is providing HeaterMeals so adults can have a free meal, too. Boone County Parks Department is supporting the project by leading activities at the Thursday evening events. These family meals end the week of July 18.

We look forward to seeing you.


Lisa Sensale Yazdian joined BCPL in 2007 and currently manages outreach services provided to youth, caregivers, and teachers. An educational psychologist by training, she is passionate about forging school, family, and community partnerships in support of youth learning and development.