Speaking Volumes: Expand your horizons at the library

Special to the HeraldJuly 7, 2013 

Last week, through no fault of my own, I turned 50. I can't say that I was completely blindsided, as I had read reports of many other people who were born in 1963 also turning 50 this year. Among them are Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Quentin Tarantino, and believe it or not, Iron Man. It almost makes it sound cool.

At the library, we have many resources for those entering their mid-life years, and I don't just mean the kind that encourage you to eat vast quantities of fiber and memorize the five warning signs of an array of terrible things. Instead, consider mid-life a time to explore new activities or rediscover interests you may have sidelined.

It's never too late to explore your creative side. Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, did not begin painting until her 70s. Laura Ingalls Wilder did not publish a book until she was 64. And Julia Child learned how to cook in her 40s, with her television show debuting when she was in her 50s.

From antique car restoration to Zydeco music, we have titles for every interest. If you haven't discovered your hidden talent yet, consider checking out "Unleashing Your Creativity After 50!" by Gene Perret. This book lists 101 creative activities to explore. I flipped through and selected one at random -- sewing. If you're on my Christmas list, you have been warned.

"Get a Hobby! 101 All-Consuming Diversions for Any Lifestyle" by Tina Barseghian features a personality quiz to match your character traits to a suitable pastime from a unique list of choices.

"Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50" by Joan Rattner Heilman is a mouthful of a title with a wealth of information, especially if you're interested in traveling. This book lists dozens of "50-plus adventures" for skiers, cyclists, hikers, and lifelong learners.

If travel is not in your budget at this time, don't forget the learning opportunities offered free at the library. Check our calendar of events online at www.mymanatee.org/library. Among our programs in July are the History of Boat Building, Intro to Self Publishing, cooking demos, and book discussions just to name a few.

If you've always wanted to learn a new language, try the library's electronic resource, Mango Languages. It can be accessed in the library or at home with your library card number and PIN, and it's free.

A library card is like a passport for lifelong learning. And remember, according to Henry David Thoreau, "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm."

The library offers monthly email newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres from which to choose; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday.

Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Mary Lysaght is the Assistant Supervisor at the Rocky Bluff Branch.

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