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Silver Fox Audiobook Club

January 4, 2016
Audience
Older Adults / Seniors
Budget
$1-50
Advance Planning

In December of 2014, I was approached by Melanie Wolff, activities coordinator of the Silver Fox Senior Social Club, who wished to begin a book club with the library's help. Wolff said several of her clients wanted a higher level of intellectual activity than the Social Club was currently providing. After some discussion about the clients, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer's, we decided on the following:

  • The group would listen to an audiobook as a group activity, since reading can be frustrating for this demographic. This would also ensure that everyone was at the same point in the book each week.
  • The books would be non-fiction or historical fiction, and they would have a movie tie-in. Upon completing the audiobook, participants would see the movie at the library and have a discussion of both the book and the film. Audiobooks and movies would be provided by the library.
  • The group would meet Friday mornings from 10 to 11 a.m., and I would facilitate.

The first meeting was Feb. 27, 2015, and the club has since completed two books with plans to begin a third in January 2016. 

Marketing

The audiobook club is held at the Silver Fox Senior Social Club; therefore the activities coordinator conducted all marketing activities. Marketing was done in three ways. First, I was invited to the Social Club to speak to all clients (approximately 40 people). The activities coordinator distributed printed material about the audiobook club to each client as well as family members who could encourage reluctant clients to participate. Finally, she individually solicited clients that we knew would benefit most from this new initiative. 

Initially five clients (three men and two women) participated in the program; that number has since grown to nine (six men and three women). The five original members are still active in the group. Considering the varying cognitive functioning levels of the clients at Silver Fox, this is considered a very good participation level.

Budget Details

It costs the library approximately $20 for snacks when the group meets to watch the movie.

Day-of-event Activity

Each Friday, I go to Silver Fox, bringing the audiobook, a laptop and an external speaker to make listening easier for all. The club meets in a small conference room where participants can enjoy coffee and a snack while listening.

I begin by recapping where they are in the book. The group listens to the book for approximately 45 minutes, leaving a few minutes for discussion at the end. Initially the activities coordinator was a participant but retired in summer 2015, so now I facilitate the group alone.

The day of the movie, some participants are brought to the library by family members, and the Social Club provides transportation for the rest. The movie is shown in the library's community room, and snacks are provided. The group discusses both the movie and the book. Topics include:

  • Was the movie an accurate representation of the book?
  • What key elements were omitted from the movie? 
  • Did we like the movie adaptation?
  • What is our next book?
Program Execution

The audiobook club began with five participants, all eager to listen to "The King's Speech," written by Mark Logue. The group discussed the format of each meeting and agreed that beginning with an overview of what they had heard previously would be helpful. They all wanted a few minutes at the end for discussion as well. Everyone was especially enthusiastic about going to the library to watch the movie once the book was finished. 

Everyone watched the film at the library. After the movie ended, the group spent almost an hour discussing both the film and the book. They were not sure what they wanted to read next but all agreed that they wanted to begin soon. I suggested three titles that fit the criteria agreed upon when the program was developed, and we decided on "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. During the second book, other clients began joining the group and the club currently stands at nine participants from Silver Fox. For the third book/film, we chose "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott.

Advice

Bring the program to the facility. Mobility is an issue for many of the members. They are able to come to the library for the movie, but on a weekly basis, it is easier to go to them. 

Choose non-fiction or historical fiction. The subject matter will be easier for participants to retain. World War II non-fiction was chosen because all but one member of the club either served in the military at that time or was old enough to remember these events.

Allow time in the beginning of each session to review where you are in the book for those who may not remember. Similarly, make sure there is time at the end for discussion as well. 

Bring open-ended questions to facilitate discussions. People were reluctant to talk when the program began. As people felt comfortable, everyone began to open up, and we are happy to report we no longer have that problem. 

Ask members to hold comments (if possible) until the day’s “reading” is over. Initially, we would stop the CD and take comments, but interruptions confused some people. We limit the number of times we stop to once or twice.  

Short Title
Silver Fox Audiobook Club

The Silver Fox Audiobook Club is an ongoing book club that meets every Friday morning to listen to and discuss audiobooks of interest to its participants, clients of a local senior care center. Upon completing a book, the club meets at the library to watch the movie companion to the book and discuss the differences between the book and the film.

Job Functions
Resources and Program Starters
Collaborations
  • Participants listening and visualizing the audiobook
    Participants listening and visualizing the audiobook
  • Participants listening to an audiobook
    Participants listening to an audiobook
Summary

A New York public library works with a senior care center to offer an audiobook club for older adults.