Milagros Tanega, librarian standing outside on a sunny day, holding a shovelThe April 2023 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • A reminder about our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library event
  • Call for library participation in the Vivo Pilot Plus program
  • An update on our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation
  • Inspiring stories from Oklahoma, Iowa, and Georgia
  • A new way to get funding to make the streets to our libraries safer and more accessible for people to walk, roll, and bike
  • New resources on outdoor library playgrounds

This month’s featured image is of Milagros Tanega, branch manager of the Evelyn Meador Library in Seabrook, Texas, part of the Harris County Public Library. Milagros is one of the featured speakers at our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library event taking place across the month of April 2023. Have you signed up? Join us to learn how Milagros and her community partners took library services outside, launching everything from an edible forest to a StoryWalk to an initiative to check out gardening supplies.

Join us in Zoom every Thursday during the month of April for inspiring conversations, networking opportunities, and for the public launch of our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library Toolkit. As of April 3, 2023, 225 individuals have already signed up, 83% of whom work in public libraries. All sessions will be recorded for those unable to attend.

Call for library participation in the Vivo Pilot Plus program

Vivo—a virtual, live, and interactive fitness program for adults 55+ provided over Zoom—is seeking a library partner to participate in the Vivo Pilot Plus program. In this Pilot Plus program, Vivo would like a library to offer 4-6 weeks of Vivo classes to patrons.

Vivo will provide these classes free of charge but would ask the library and the participants to complete satisfaction surveys at the end of the pilot for a case study and implementation guide. To participate or learn more about the Pilot Plus program, email margaret@teamvivo.com

What is Vivo

Vivo is a virtual, live, and interactive fitness program for adults 55+ provided over Zoom. Our group exercise classes are designed to build strength, accountability, mobility, and balance in a safe, engaging way. Vivo classes are led by certified trainers with expertise in working with older adults and are limited to 15 participants, ensuring personalized attention while allowing for community to build easily between participants. Vivo combines the 1-on-1 personal training experience with the community of virtual small group classes to provide a full-body workout in every class, with a focus on function.

Vivo is a NIH grant-funded exercise program that is accessible on Zoom so members can join individually from the comfort of their own homes or in-person at your library. Unlike pre-recorded generic videos, Vivo’s live-only classes and expert trainers interact directly with patrons to make exercise functional and fun! And Vivo also has proven results: in only two months of participation, Vivo members experience an average 25% improvement in endurance and strength.

What makes Vivo different?

  • 100% live and interactive with personalized real-time attention from the trainer
  • Trainers present different levels to each exercise making the Vivo program suitable for everyone and all fitness levels
  • It’s fun! Vivo’s warm, welcoming, non-judgmental community builds engagement and motivation
  • Vivo provides a full body workout in every class, proven to be the most effective way to improve strength, mobility, and balance

How Vivo works in libraries

Vivo provides consistent, science-based comprehensive fitness programs for libraries by providing a group fitness class appropriate for all fitness levels led by vetted fitness professionals with expertise in older adults. Libraries select the days and times they wish to offer classes and patrons can join the class via Zoom through the library or through the comfort of their own home. Benefits to the library of offering Vivo classes include a high-value marketable program for patrons, customizable programs for patrons’ unique needs, a personalized small group fitness concept provided online for convenient access through the library or in-home, and a scientifically backed approach to exercise to offer patrons an evidence-informed way to get active. Further, Vivo manages the sourcing, vetting, background checks, and training for instructors. Vivo guarantees a trainer and class at the days and times your library wants and supplies all of the content to market programs to your patrons.

How libraries can work with Vivo

Contact Margaret@teamvivo.com to discuss your library’s particular programming needs. Once a library has selected the dates and times of classes, Vivo provides the Zoom link to share with patrons as well as all marketing materials. Patrons can then log on from home or come to the library in-person and exercise. The only equipment needed is Wi-Fi and a large screen to project the classes for viewing.

An update on our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation

Beginning in February 2023, we started hosting monthly one-hour Birds of a Feather online conversation. The next event will be April 19.

What is a Birds of a Feather conversation? It’s an opportunity for individuals with shared interests to gather together (birds of a feather flock together) to share resources, inspire one another, and generally build community.

These events are never recorded so that all participants can share freely. Join us!

During our March call we had a lively conversation. Here are some of the resources shared:

Walking resources shared

Pickens County (SC) Library System shared that they’re starting a new Strollerbrary program – “It is for caregivers and young children (ages 0-4). We’ll meet at different local walking parks, learn a new early literacy concept, and go for a walk! Bring your stroller, wagon, or two feet and we’ll enjoy the fresh air together!”

Falls prevention Resources shared

Developed in Idaho in 2004, Fit and Fall Proof™ (FFP) is an exercise-based fall prevention program for older adults in Idaho that focuses on improving strength, mobility, and balance to reduce an older adults’ risk of falling.

A Matter of Balance

Libraries featured in National Council on Aging’s Falls Prevention Awareness Week Toolkit

Healthy Aging Stories features North Carolina library

Tai Chi & Qigong resources shared

Book recommendation for Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi 

“Tai Chi is one of the evidence-based complementary and integrative health (CIH) approaches within the VHA Whole Health System of care included in the Veteran’s medical benefits package”

Outdoor and nature connections resources shared

1000 Hours Outside 

Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life Dacher Keltner (2023). – highly recommended new book

Generation Wild

Libraries and You: Natural Partners presentation taking place this Summer at annual Children & Nature Network’s Inside Out International Conference featuring Cristy Moran and Dustin Landrum of the Colorado and Georgia State Library Agencies

Free passes to national parks for fourth graders across America

Climate Change and Human Health

Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth Hardcover – February 22, 2022 – recommended new book  being featured at the Pella Public Library in Iowa

Wellcome Foundation

General health and health literacy resources shared

Role of Rural Libraries in Promoting Digital Health Literacy  – This webinar was highly recommended! Led by Dianne Connery who joined us for our February Birds of a Feather conversation.

Look for webinar recording here

What is health literacy? And how do we talk about how and why libraries support health & health literacy? Some resources shared included health literacy resources from the




Join us in April for more resource sharing and inspiring conversation! We’re going to keep doing this every Third Wednesday of the month, every month, starting at 12 pm Eastern.

Inspiring stories from Oklahoma, Iowa, and Georgia

We want to thank librarians from the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville, Georgia, Decorah Public Library in Iowa, and from the McAlester (Oklahoma) Public Library and the SEOLS Bookmobile for sharing these inspiring stories!

In Oklahoma, “in 2016, Heath Stanfield brought his experience as an Oklahoma Park Naturalist to the McAlester Public Library and developed the Backyard Explorers Program.  Backyard Explorers is a nature-based STREAM education program that encourages learning through play and exploration. Our own backyards and parks are the perfect place for this kind of discovery. Every month has a different topic and features a scavenger hunt, art project, data collection or experiment, and a curated collection of books on the featured topic to encourage reading. This is a fun way to participate in the scientific process and for families to engage in citizen science together.

In 2020, Backyard Explorers went virtual and SEOLS created a series of YouTube videos along with logbook challenges that could be viewed and downloaded from this webpage.  We also partnered with OSU for a virtual citizen science fair and participated in their SpottyRain project.

Currently, we are excited to be hosting this program in person once again and to announce that we have successfully expanded it to the SEOLS Bookmobile!  Kaylee Stanfield, the Bookmobile Manager, lead a group of Backyard Explorers on their first birding adventure at Goodland Academy.  The group walked around the campus watching birds with their binoculars, recording their sightings in their BYE Bird Logbooks, and learning about the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

The Backyard Explorers program has received positive feedback from parents, grandparents, and homeschoolers since it encourages children and families to get outside and explore nature together.  It is also a scalable program so anyone can participate no matter their age.   If you have a diverse age group of kids, invite the older kids to be helpers and let them help the younger children with their projects and scavenger hunts.”

Photo by Nick Chill

In Iowa, Decorah Public Library “holds active outdoor field trips for middle school students after school in partnership with two other local organizations: Upper Exploreland’s Safe Routes to School and Winneshiek County Conservation.

In the spring and fall we hold biking field trips. Students mostly bring their own bikes and helmets, but there’s a spot on the registration form for participants to indicate if they need the library to help rent equipment.

In the winter we hold winter field trips (where participants have the opportunity to try cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and other forms of winter recreation using equipment the library provides for free).

The field trips are designed in such a way to maximize the time kids can hang out, banter, and enjoy each other. We want to keep it informal, rather then instructional. We strive to give kids an opportunity to try new things and connect with their community, learning new human-powered ways of exploring the place they live. We provide snacks, a route, and adult supervision, but the kids really shape the time to meet their needs by choosing who they bike with, what they talk about, and how they want to explore the destination of each field trip.

The program has grown every time we’ve offered it. Throughout the course of each session, we watch the confidence of our participants increase. Toward the end of our spring 2022 biking field trip session, when we complimented the group on how well they made a sharp turn on their bikes at the bottom of a steep hill, one participant commented, “well we’ve practiced it every week so we’re better now.”

In Georgia, Oconee County Library “hosted a Spring into Wellness event that brought together local businesses and community groups who offer activities to get people moving and allowed them to do demos, community workouts, and help people learn about the many different ways they can become more active in their community.  The participants ranged from mountain biking, archery, sword fighting, workout groups, tennis, and much more.  As patrons visited each group or activity they had a bingo sheet filled out and turned that in at the end for a chance to win prizes related to exercise. We heard from groups and patrons that they discovered new activities that they weren’t aware of and were going to try out in the future plus we had kids and adults all participating in physical activity together at the event.”

Share your story to be featured in a future newsletter, and on our website, to inspire others and to shine a light on the amazing work you’re doing in your community!

A new way to get funding to make the streets to our libraries safer and more accessible for people to walk, roll, and bikes

Intersections InitiativeWe are thrilled to share information about the new Intersections Initiative, which exists to connect community leaders, organizations, and local government agencies to technical assistance and funding that make our streets safer and more accessible for people to walk, roll, and bike.

Want to make your library easier for people to walk, bike, or use a wheelchair to access? This is the initiative for you!

In the United States the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides billions for investments in active and public transportation infrastructure that helps Americans get where they need and want to go without having to rely on a personal vehicle. Now is the time for local communities and organizations to use this funding and their voices to build safer, more connected and equitable, people-friendly streets. Funding is available for a range of different projects, from creating more walkable neighborhoods to building better biking infrastructure to planning and establishing safe routes to libraries.

Go to “How to get started” and fill out the form – you just need to provide a little bit of information about your library and your vision for making it easier for people to walk, roll, and/or bike to visit you.

We recommend starting your proposal with a Walk Audit, which will help you identify how easy it is to walk to and near your library, but you can get additional ideas for what you may be able to fund at the Intersections Initiative website.

Share your vision and get help from the non-profits America Walks, Safe Routes Partnership, and League of American Bicyclists.

Want to talk more about this opportunity? Contact us!

New resources on outdoor library playgrounds

Ankeny Public Library, Ankeny Library Playground, Ankeny, Iowa, Des Moines ParksThe past month saw the release of a few great resources on how public libraries in Iowa and Kentucky started outdoor library playgrounds, and how you can too!

Nebraska Library Commission in collaboration with The Association for Rural and Small Libraries featured a session on Library Playgrounds at the annual Big Talk from Small Libraries online event, featuring Dena Ratliff Warren, Director, Trimble County Public Library, Bedford, KY (Population served: 8,800) talking about how to incorporate play and fun into library services through outdoor playgrounds. Learn how to plan, build, and maintain playground equipment. Watch the full recording and download the slides.

Meanwhile, Yalp (play spelled backwards) published “Step Up Your Playful Learning Game: How to Attract More Readers to Your Library” featuring the example of the Ankeny Library Playground in Iowa as the perfect example of a library that has embraced inclusive, playful learning!

Check out these great resources and get inspired to try something new in the outdoor spaces around your library!

Have a playground at your library? Let us know! We’d love to feature your story.

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