A Little Library Music

Emily Vater works in the Reference Department as a Public Services Associate. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from NKU and has worked for Boone County Public Library for almost eight years.

Imagine an average day at the Library. It could be the middle of the week, a weeknight, or even a weekend. An impregnable silence penetrates the Library. Without notice, a cautious melody begins to play. The sound manages to break through the silence and soars through the Library’s dome. Capitalizing on its freedom, the melody trickles down and boldly plays until the Library is enveloped with music. Patrons and employees look up from their books, computers, and phones to wonder at the sound. Is someone’s cell phone ringing? Someone who forgot to plug their headphones into the computer? But no, the music is everywhere. As the notes wash over the building, they become accustomed to the artful performer and though it still feels a little foreign to hear music playing the Library, ears adjust and everyone settles in for an unexpected performance.

A little boy sits poised at the piano, fingers hovering over the keys, the anticipation making him wary to play. With a deep breath, and a glance at his music sheet, he begins. Today it’s Bach, but some days it’s Beethoven or Chopin. The classical notes are easy, but it’s the rock that has to be practiced. He pauses and switches gear to play “Heart and Soul,” a familiar tune for most, but to him it’s new and exciting. After twenty minutes, amid applause from the staff and those patrons around him, he rushes upstairs, a giddy smile betraying his humility.

This is not a typical noise for a public library. Long heralded as a place where “shhing” was as common as the grouchy librarian with a stiff bun atop her head, the Main library has ushered in a different way for patrons to enjoy the Library. Come and show off your talent underneath the Library’s dome where the upright piano awaits its next performer. This is the chance to showcase your talents, whether you are a seasoned player or a newcomer who is eager to test out the acoustics of the building. Classical minuets, movie soundtracks, even Charlie Brown arrangements have made appearances. Young or old, classic or contemporary, fan favorites or original, all pieces are welcome. Don’t know what to play? Feel free to choose from our selection of piano books, all poised and ready on the piano.

–Emily

Your Local Library: A Prescription for Retirement

Amanda Hopper has worked with the Youth Services Department at BCPL for five years and is currently the YS Coordinator.  Amanda lives in Union with her husband and two daughters.  She is passionate about serving the children and families of Boone County.   

Seniors are living longer than ever, and many maintain an active lifestyle. According to Shock of Gray by Ted Fishman, the number of people in the U.S. between the ages of 75 and 85 will almost double by 2050, and the amount of healthy, active, engaged, older adults will also grow.  They will continue working, volunteering, and pursuing both social and professional interests.

However, while studies show that more and more seniors remain engaged and active in their later years, many people still believe that older adults are not able to learn as readily as they used to. This is not true. In fact, exercise and continual mental activity is proven to stimulate the growth of neurons throughout life.

Boone County Public Library is committed to helping older adults keep their minds engaged by offering them opportunities to learn new things.  The Library offers basic computing just for seniors at the Florence Branch on a weekly basis and for those who already have the basics down, quarterly classes on Word and Excel are offered at the Main Library and the Scheben Branch.

Researchers at University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, found that learning a second language can help stave off dementia. The Library has an online language learning tool, called Mango that is easy to use and great for older adults who want to keep their brains in shape. Mango contains 47 different language courses and can be accessed from the Library’s website www.bcpl.org.

And speaking of exercise, research in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that middle-aged people who exercise regularly, and stay in shape, are nearly 40 percent less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease by the time they are sixty-five. BCPL offers Yoga and Zumba classes on a weekly basis so people can exercise both their minds and their bodies while at the Library.

For a healthy retirement, it is also important for seniors to maintain their social networks.  At BCPL, there are many opportunities for older adults to stave off isolation and stay socially active.  From eight different monthly book clubs and bridge, mahjong and chess games, to drop-in knitting and a writer’s group, there are plenty of outlets for social engagement at the Library.

Senior adults can feel connected to their local community by reading about Boone County’s rich heritage and history and sharing their own stories.  The Library has a large collection of local history materials and a lot of them have been digitized and compiled into an online encyclopedia called Chronicles of Boone County http://www.bcpl.org/cbc/.  Mentally rewarding challenges such as researching the family tree can also help to keep the mind engaged. BCPL subscribes to the popular genealogy database, Ancestry, which can be accessed at any of the Library’s six buildings and staff members are always happy to help with the research.

Keeping the mind and body engaged in old age is a wonderful prescription for staying healthy.  And, going to the local public library to access the myriad of services and programs is one way to fill this prescription.

–Amanda