Name of blogger: Rhian Isaac
Organisation Name:Leeds Library and Information Service
How many older people (approximately) were involved in your event? 21
How many under 60s (approximately) were involved in your event? 10
At Middleton Library we held an event to celebrate the International Day of Older People and to encourage older people to use their local library service more actively. We were very grateful to Leeds Older People’s Forum for the funding we were given that allowed us to create a great atmosphere in the library and invite as many older people from the community as possible.
The day included reminiscence sessions on the topics of food and leisure, a Leodis display of old photographs of Middleton, memory advice drop in sessions and a talk from Marks and Spencer Archive. There was also the opportunity throughout the day to learn more about the library’s ancestry, local history and Leodis websites.
As it was the half term school holiday, the displays and reminiscence objects attracted visitors of all ages, even though the event was primarily aimed at older people. This created a vibrant intergenerational day.
Grandparents were able to share their memories about Middleton with their grandchildren whilst looking at the Leodis pictures. Everyone had a story to tell about buildings that no longer existed or places that they had memories of visiting as a child. The reminiscence boxes also proved popular as an intergenerational activity.
Older people remembered the toys and food of their youth, whilst the tactile nature of the reminiscence objects were irresistible to the children who loved looking at the pictures of ‘strange’ old televisions and trying to work out how to play the 1950’s board games.
The talk by Marks and Spencer Archive was thoroughly enjoyable. It gave us a detailed history of the company from its humble beginnings as a Penny Bazaar in Leeds to the huge high street brand we know today.
We learned lots of interesting facts about how Marks and Spencer adapted to the clothing restrictions during World War II and how they developed microwavable meals when more women went out to work in the 1970’s. We also laughed about the old style knitted swimming costumes that unhelpfully expanded when they got wet!
It was a day that was enjoyed by all and we hope that older people in the area will continue to use Middleton Library. As a result of this event, informal drop-in memory sessions are being piloted at Middleton Library. They will be on the first Friday of the month between 10am and midday and are open to anyone with memory problems, dementia, their carers or anyone who would like more information.
It is an opportunity to discuss with a professional about any information and support needs you may have. The next session will be on Friday 2nd December.
Thank you to Leeds Older People’s Forum for funding the Middleton Library event.