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Library offers variety of programs to seniors

by Merrie Leininger

Diners at the Douglas County Senior Center Friday got an extra treat – a reading from “Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul.”

As part of a new program that the Douglas County Public Library hopes will attract more seniors, Librarian Luise Ruff read passages from the book before lunch was served.

Four librarians – Dan Doyle, Maria Pearson, Jennifer Schimmelpfennig and Ruff – have been rotating for the three months they have been reading at the senior center.

“Basically, we describe the book and talk a little about it. They seemed to enjoy it,” Ruff said after her reading. “We’ve been doing it for two years at the residential care center and filming it for the local access station. People saw the broadcasts and were coming in to check out the books.”

Friday, Ruff read a humorous essay about an older woman who bought a motor scooter over the protests of her friends and family.

“I like it. I could relate,” said Nancy Taylor, 75, of the Ranchos. “I don’t have a motor scooter, but my daughter says I’m going through my second childhood. After all I’ve learned, I’m going to enjoy it much more.”

Carl and Edith Griggs, 70, and 84, respectively, also enjoyed the lesson of the story.

“I thought that was fantastic,” Carl said. “The fact that the old lady is getting on with life – you never die until they close the lid. You can do anything you put your mind to, no matter your age.”

Ruff also read another story about a woman in her 70s who had an embarrassing accident while skiing – she tried to go to the bathroom in the trees and ended up skiing backward down the hill with her snowsuit around her knees.

“I liked every bit of it,” said Winnie Lovett, 81, of Ruhenstroth. “It was beautiful. She did a wonderful job. She talked plain.”

Others just like the chance to hear the written word.

“I like most anything. I read anything – I love to read. It’s real nice they come here to read,” said Erma D’Oliva of Gardnerville.

n Internet classes. Ruff said the library wants to attract seniors who normally wouldn’t visit. For seniors who don’t get out of their homes much, the library is continuing its homebound project. Seniors sign up with library tech Maria Pearson, who interviews them about their favorite types of books. Books are taken to seniors by the senior center Meals on Wheels drivers.

“We were doing a lot of outreach to the kids and the board asked us to reach out to adults and seniors more. We are getting a lot of positive feedback. I think we’re really reaching some people we normally wouldn’t have,” Ruff said.

Senior Center Director Warren Bottino said he is happy to work with organizations wanting to improve the lives of seniors.

“The classes are going to benefit everybody. It gives them a lot more to do and to be a part of. The computer skills help all of us. The sign-up sheet always fills up,” he said.

The library also wants seniors to get logged on. For the past 2-1/2 years, the librarians have been teaching one-hour search engine and e-mail basics classes twice a month. Sign-up sheets are located at the senior center.

Saturday from 8-9 a.m. Helen Drake attended a search engine class taught by Ruff.

“I am 85 years old and I find TV very boring. I got a computer about a year ago and I get along OK, but I don’t know how to make files and I get confused on e-mail,” Drake said. “I’m sure I can learn a lot here and I intend to come back. It gives me something more to do. There are a lot of things I want to learn still.”

For information about the Internet classes, contact Librarian Luise Ruff at 782-9841. Sign-up sheets are located at the Douglas County Senior Center, 2300 Meadow Lane in Gardnerville.

For information about the homebound program, contact library tech Maria Pearson at 782-9841.