NEWARK, Ohio, September 28, 2020 — Seniors in Licking County will soon benefit from free expanded lifelong learning opportunities. Thanks to a generous patron gift, the Licking County Library (LCL) will begin offering its new Empowered Minds program in March 2021 to provide area seniors with convenient access to continuing education classes.
Empowered Minds classes will help seniors maintain social connections, learn about healthy aging and continue personal growth and development. Programming will focus on social or academic subjects taught by content experts, author programs, Ohioana Library Association book groups and group technology classes. While the ultimate goal is to conduct in-person classes at the LCL's downtown Newark, Hebron and Johnstown locations, remote classes will be conducted when appropriate. The program will be managed by the LCL's Adult Services Department. The LCL will also partner with the Licking County Aging Program (LCAP) to present a variety of activities, including the annual Senior Living Expo held each spring.
Classes will be organized in three terms throughout the year, fall term (September-December), spring term (February-May) and summer term (June-July). Classes will not be held in January and August.
"Licking County is a community of lifelong learners. We are thrilled to take the reins of this successful program that COTC has thoughtfully planned each year. Our new approach of Empowered Minds supports Licking County Library's vision of aspiring to be our customers' first choice for innovative, inspiring and fun learning experiences. We look forward to offering enriching classes to the seniors we are dedicated to serve," said Babette Wofter, library director.
Central Ohio Technical College's (COTC) Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) has provided programming and logistical support to the Empowered Minds programming committee as it plans for its inaugural year. With the advent of this new free resource available for Licking County seniors, COTC will dissolve its LLI at the end of 2020. The change will help maximize the impact of the LCL's Empowered Minds program.
"The Licking County Library is the perfect entity to manage this much-needed programming for seniors in Licking County," said COTC President John M. Berry, PhD. "COTC is very proud of the phenomenal work done through the LLI for the past eight years. Now, with a new funding source available, the time was right to pass this torch. This change will bring about a new, sustainable program that will benefit seniors by offering free access to programing at expanded locations throughout the county. This a win-win for area seniors."
In early 2021, the LCL will announce a spring course listing and registration information. In addition to the annual gift, the LCL will apply annually for Senior Levy Grant funds to support costs associated with classes, including marketing, instructor fees and supplies. Classes will be free with donations encouraged.