By Ann Burnside Love

Ann-LoveWe’re not to call libraries “libraries” any more. They are now media centers doing much more than housing books. I know this is true truth, because two of my daughters-in-law are media center coordinators in public schools. One works in an elementary school in Northern Virginia, and the other in a nearly brand new Maryland high school. Both started out as teachers and later took extra masters’ degrees to qualify as media center coordinators. This is where I get my information.

How do I know that I actually live in the middle of a Media Center? Well, I already knew my retirement community had several libraries, for starters.

• When I get off the elevator at the third floor, there is a small library filled mostly with biographies and popular authors’ novels. It has two game tables with chairs. Many times when I pass, people are playing mahjong, dominos, or any one of a number of card games. Often the room is crowded with spectators. Or meetings are taking place: Dramatic readings, book club meetings, residents’ association meetings or others.

• Ditto at the fourth floor elevator, only it’s a bit smaller. And the books are paperbacks. Lots and lots of paperbacks.

• Our café is a large area just down a hall from the front entrance. It’s surrounded by bookshelves. Books of all kinds line the walls, including reference, plus a whole wall of large-type books. A serve yourself setup for coffee, hot tea, iced tea, ice water and hot chocolate. It’s filled with large and small round tables with chairs or stools. Sofas and clustered upholstered chairs surround a Really Big TV. And it’s usually full of people reading, talking, eating lunch bought across the hall in the Country Store — plus many at work using their own computers, enjoying WiFi connections.

• The same space has a rack with five or six daily papers: The Washington Post, USA Today, local papers, and The Wall Street Journal. Plus magazines. It has large notebooks with pictures and information for independent living residents, minutes of committee meetings and various directories. Rotating racks house our large collection of videos, DVDs and CDs.

• The Front Desk is nearby, where they answer phones, handle mail and packages, use copy machines, answer questions, give directions, and constantly relay essential information throughout the whole community. They’re truly kind, lovely women of infinite patience who answer our questions all day long.

• Last, but definitely at the top of many residents’ lists, is the computer room, where several people can work or play games at any given time. A very popular site, especially since a computer trainer comes several times a week to teach systems and repair machines, as necessary. It’s also a great place to catch up on all of your favorite blogs (hint, hint), grab some FaceTime with your grandchildren or even catch up on your community’s social media activities.

Now, given my own electronic gear, much of which is connected to my company’s similar gear and programs at Love & Company’s main office, wouldn’t you say I live in the middle of a media center? And don’t you believe that most of today’s retirement communities, wherever they are, are equipped with most of the above — or more?  If not, soon they will be?

Check it out! Then carry on!

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