Jeffrey Kempe is named fellow for Transforming Life After 50

August 24, 2010

By Sepideh Behzadpour

Jeffrey Kempe

The California initiative Transforming Life After 50 Fellowship has expanded into Washington, and one of 19 people to be named fellows is Jeffrey Kempe, adult services coordinator for the King County Library System in Issaquah.

The initiative is a fellowship designed to help libraries better serve and engage adults 50 and older. Research has shown that current library services for adults 50 and older do not match the characteristics or interests of the age group, according to the TLA50 website.

Founded by the California State Library in 2007 and expanded to other Western states, the goal of the fellowship includes libraries serving as catalysts, resources, meeting places and partners in creating opportunities for midlife adults to learn, teach, lead, build skills, retool careers and become civically engaged, the TLA50 website said.

“I was thrilled to learn that I was accepted as a fellow,” Kempe said. “This is a great opportunity. I’m very excited to have the chance to connect with other libraries and find innovative ways to serve the community.

“We want the programs to be a reflection of the needs and wants of the community,” he added.

Some of the current library programs designed for midlife adults include helping job seekers find jobs, bringing authors for them to meet and “how-to” classes.

One new program that may be added is providing individual assistance, because an individual touch is a good thing, Kempe said. For example, one-on-one computer help would be offered, as well as programs that have yet to be created.

“The yearlong fellowship is a leaning experience,” he said. “We’ll work with experts in their fields and work with other libraries to create innovative programs.”

Carolyn Petersen, assistant program manager for library development at the Washington State Library, said that the position is right up Kempe’s alley, since he coordinates all of the programs for adult services for the King County Library System.

“The 19 fellows in Washington were chosen for ability to make an impact on their community through their libraries,” Petersen said.

She further said that the reason why the program was extended into Washington was because the California State Library did a pilot program that had successful results.

“They wanted to outreach the program into five states, which they did, and Washington state was one of them,” she said.

Petersen said the funding for the fellowship comes from a grant award, from federal tax dollars and The U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The fellowship program runs through June 30, 2011.

“We will continue to serve the community once the fellowship is over,” Kempe said.

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