The library organized a daylong Senior Expo that brought together local county organizations that offer services to seniors and their families. The focus was on health, wellness, legal issues and more.
Planning began six months before the event. Our outreach services librarian and PR librarian assistant developed the concept for the day-long exposition after scouting out a "mature expo" that took place at a local mall. Staff realized that many nonprofit organizations would not be able to afford a booth at a commercial event and felt the library would be a perfect venue for bringing together organizations and the local senior population.
We sent invitation letters to local county nonprofit health organizations. More than 40 Saratoga County-based organization responded and were represented at the event. The expo information was disseminated to library patrons through our program brochures, website, Facebook, Twitter, Constant Contact e-newsletter, electronic street sign and local newspapers. Over 250 seniors and family members attended.
Costs were minimal. All booth space was provided free of charge, and there was no cost to attend the expo. All PR materials were developed and printed in-house. All programs were presented free of charge and the presenters donated their time to do presentations.
Set-up involved placing tables and chairs in our program room for organizations. We provided tent cards for identifying each organization. Small library promotional materials (pencils, Post-It notepads, etc.), bottled water and an evaluation form were given to each organization. Smaller program rooms were set up with chairs for presentations that were held throughout the day.
The event was held from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. In addition to the information booths, 12 programs were presented on topics such a Medicare, long-term care and memory loss. We also offered a free hearing screening. Evaluations were distributed to both organizations and attendees. The comments and ratings received were overwhelmingly positive. As a result of this event, staff developed an area in the library for information on senior services located near large-print material. We exceeded our goals for the day and the expo strengthened cooperation and partnerships with other agencies in our community. In addition, organizations were able to network among themselves to share information and experiences.
We found our initial visit to a "mature expo" at a local mall very helpful. It was a way to learn about various senior organizations in our community. The local county senior organization and town senior centers also offered helpful information. After the 2011 Senior Expo, we decided not to offer presentations during the event. People did attend the sessions but they were really more interested in visiting one-on-one with representatives from organizations. We also shortened the event to four hours instead of six. We continue to hold this event every other fall because that is the open enrollment time for health care in our area.
About This Library
The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library is located in Southern Saratoga County in upstate New York. They are a member of the Southern Adirondack Library Systems and have a service population of 56,000. From 2000 to 2010, the number of people in Clifton Park and Halfmoon aged 60 years and older increased by 60 percent.