Our world is shifting from one that idolizes adulthood towards one that understands and embraces elderhood. We don’t have a choice because our society is aging more rapidly than ever before. Surely we could take the comfortable road to superficial change. Artifacts are only as good the values and norms they represent (like a mission statement collecting dust or wallpaper that doesn’t change behavior or the pets that come to visit once a week). These represent concrete, visual artifacts that are not guided by values and norms. But we have other ideas for change…
Example: The Ericksonville Community Intentional Library decided it wanted to be more user-friendly for their community elders.
All staff, volunteers and community members participated in a discussion about what they wanted their library to be. The result was new mission and values statements that reflected their well intentions.
The library staff created policies and procedure for the employees, a customer service credo and code of conduct for users.
To put their words and behaviors into action, they renovated – added ramps, improved lighting, lowered the shelves and widened the aisles. They also purchased touch screen computers, large print books and books on tape. They also created a community room for book clubs, discussions and such with universally friendly furniture .