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Aging By the Book: A reading circle


The Ottawa Public Library is pleased to offer an innovative program called Aging By The Book, a six-week-long discussion group that uses selections by various writers to spark conversations about aging. OPL is pleased to create a meaningful opportunity for older adults in the community to connect with each other in focused and facilitated sessions to share insights and explore issues that often arise in the later years of life.

Some aspects of aging are obvious but many are not. This program offers an open space for discussion and a chance to explore the different aspects of the older adult experience as portrayed in a wide range of written work.

How does it work?
Aging by the Book is halfway between a book club and a learning circle. Participants meet once a week for six weeks to discuss poems, short stories, essays and excerpts from novels and memoirs about aging. Participants will learn from each other and from the insights and experiences shared in discussions sparked by the selected readings. This is a collaborative learning experience and in no way a course. It is an opportunity for people to explore and learn from each other.

Upcoming sessions:

  • Friday, September 14 at 10:30 a.m., at the Beaverbrook branch. The group will meet every Friday for six weeks. Register now!
  • Tuesday, October 9 at 10:15 a.m., at the Elmvale Acres branch. The group will meet every Tuesday for six weeks. Register now!

Who participates; what do they talk about
Participants’ ages range from their early 50s to early 80s. They come to learn more about aging in general or about their aging selves and what to expect. Newly retired or about-to-retire participants often want to explore their transition to a new life stage. Other participants focus on changing relationships, whether with other, more senior adults in their lives (aging parents) and/or with adult children.

What do participants read about?
With compassion, eloquence, and humour, texts explore:

  • the shift into new roles and new identities
  • the impact of physical, cognitive, and emotional changes
  • the way individuals cope with solitude, and loneliness
  • the discoveries older adults make when seeking new ways to engage with life.

All readings will be provided by the program and include fiction, memoirs, poetry and non-fiction.  Registration is limited to 10 participants; no new registrants after the second session.

Additional information:
Aging by the Book Website
Aging by the Book - Ideas Program - CBC

Please note that while this program is currently offered in English only, we hope to develop a French version, with readings in French, with help from Francophones who have participated in the English program.


Great idea, given that I am still working (close to retirement), I would join for sure. It is something that would help me through this transition. Please consider other sessions in the evening or possibly late afternoon may work.