Seniors Tea at the Kensington Public Library

Antique china teacups lined the table while a beautiful bouquet of freshly picked hydrangeas give a an elegant air to a morning tea for seniors. On July 26, 2012 the doors of the Kensington Public Library, closed to the public for the morning, were open to local seniors who were interested in connecting with the library.

Nametags handed out by youth summer interns indicated the length of residence for each neighbour. One nametag modestly boasted ninety-seven years in the neighbourhood. Elma was born and raised in Kensington Cedar Cottage where she continues to live. She was happy to have the opportunity to explore the library, learn about relevant resources and voice her ideas.

During the two-hour event, seniors learned about library resources, including the computerized catalogue, selections, and outreach services. It was equally an opportunity to learn from local seniors and for them to share their insights and ideas of ways the library can connect with the community.

The event was hosted by the Kensington Public library with members of the downtown branch attending to represent their specific areas. It was supported by Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House who worked with a group of local seniors to coordinate outreach and organize the tea. Both the Kensington Public library and Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House are part of the Kensington Cedar Cottage literacy task group.

The Kensington Cedar Cottage literacy task group is made up of local residents and service providers who have a common interest in literacy and how it can be used as a tool for community development. In September 2011, the task group received Raise-a-Reader funds to help support adult and family literacy initiatives. Drawing from the Kensington Cedar Cottage literacy plan, a portion of the Raise-a-Reader funds were used for this special event. Feedback gathered at the tea will help to shape Kensington Public Library programs and develop outreach specific to local seniors.

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