Program at Oneida Public Library to discuss aging


ONEIDA — As the proportion of the elderly 65 years of age and older in Upstate New York’s population approaches 20%, it’s time for citizens of all ages to reconsider what growing “old” can mean today and what the impact of increasing numbers of the elderly might have on society as a whole, according to organizers of an upcoming program.

Those two questions are posed in a new reading and discussion program, “Growing and Aging,” being hosted by Oneida Public Library in five bi-weekly evening sessions, starting April 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s History Room.

The program will revolve around four thought-provoking books, both fiction and nonfiction, that are being provided free of charge by the program’s creator, Humanities New York. As led by the program’s facilitator, Dr. Tom Murray, discussions will focus on selected essays in “A History of Old Age,” edited by Pat Thane, on April 26 and May 10; selections of short stories and poems collected in “Literature and Aging: An Anthology” on May 10 and 24; an exploration of contemporary attitudes toward aging in “In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age” by Patricia Cohen on June 7; and the novel “Tinkers” by Paul Harding June 21.

“In the past year,” said Murray, former OPL assistant director and humanities scholar, “I reached my biblical allotment of three score and ten years, and since then I have been increasingly interested not only in my own aging process but in that of others, both older and younger than I. There is such a diversity of attitudes and emotions surrounding the concept of “old age” that I find the readings in this discussion program more than helpful in making sense of it all. I can recommend the ‘Growing and Aging’ program not only to the so-called elderly but to anyone who is approaching old age, caring for an elderly parent or concerned how society should deal with the increasing number of the elderly, both those physically and mentally fit and those who have become decrepit.”

Over the years while working at the OPL, Murray has facilitated many book discussion groups, including several Humanities New York reading and discussion programs: “Votes for Women” (2017); “True Crime, an American Genre” (2016); “Our World Remade: World War I” (2014); “Lincoln and the Civil War” (2013); and “Making Sense of the Civil War” (2012).

The five sessions of the “Growing and Aging” program are scheduled for Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. on April 26, May 10 and 24, and June 7 and 21. Those interested in participating should pre-register at the library as soon as possible and pick up copies of the four texts under discussion. “Growing and Aging” at the OPL is made possible by the support of Humanities New York in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For further information, contact Ariel Bero by phone at 315-363-3050 or by email at or ask at the library’s Circulation Desk, 459 Main St., Oneida.


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