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Jacksonville Public Library Offering Older Patrons Help With Housing, Health And More

Moreford in chair
Jessica Palombo

The Jacksonville Public Library is one of four in the nation that have won grants targeting customers over age 50. The downtown library is using $25,000 from the AARP Foundation to assist customers with everything from housing to finding a job.

Margaret Moreford is a longtime Jacksonville librarian in special collections. She says before she worked at the library, she didn’t realize it offered so many services.

“It’s a lot more than books, that’s for sure,” she says.

Now she’s in charge of running the library’s new program for older library patrons.

“We see those people here already, cause they’re here—at least in special collections—researching their family histories, looking at Florida history,” she says.

Moreford and two volunteers have set up shop in a conference room, Room 319, on the third floor. They’re here weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., waiting for customers to wander in.

Volunteer Jane Griffo says everyone has different needs.

“What we do is we connect them with the resources available in the community,” she says.

Sometimes that’s Medicare, or help with computers. There’s even a social worker available downstairs.

And soon, Moreford says, the library will add weekday seminars on a range of topics.

“People can take a lot away from coming here to the library and go out and help others and expand their knowledge,” she says. “It’s just real exciting.”

The grant allows the library to continue the services through next spring.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP