2023 AARP Community Challenge grantee announcement imageThe August 2023 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • The final call for nominations for the I Partner with My Public Library Award
  • An invitation to our next Birds of a Feather online conversation
  • Inspiring stories and resources from Iowa

This month’s featured image comes from AARP, the US nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.

In July, AARP announced the 2023 AARP Community Challenge Grantees, an annual funding opportunity for community organizations that want to make more livable communities for all ages.

In 2023, as in previous years, public libraries across the country were among the 310 winners!

We want to celebrate the following libraries for their awards, which they will use to create active, outdoor-friendly, livable communities for all ages:

  • Lemmon, South Dakota: Lemmon Public Library
    The project will purchase a portable dance floor, which residents will be able to check out from the library for local events.
  • Millinocket, Maine: Millinocket Memorial Library
    Solar-powered lighting will be installed along a popular downtown walking trail, increasing safety and accessibility, especially for older walkers.
  • Scarborough, Maine: Scarborough Public Library
    This project will establish a network of walking paths to provide a safe place and programs for older adults to exercise and socialize outdoors in a community that lacks a walkable downtown.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: ELLA Library
    The project will turn an unused space into a community garden with raised beds to accommodate older gardeners, as well as allow for monthly gardening events there.
  • Palmer Township, Pennsylvania: Paza, Tree of Life
    The project will turn an open space adjacent to the public library into a community gathering area with benches, a sculpture and a garden paying tribute to Native American culture.
  • Lapwaim Idaho: Prairie River Library District
    This project will create a covered bus stop equipped with Wi-Fi outside a local library, as well as an indoor gathering space focused on the audio, visual and mobility needs of older adults.
  • Winchester, Idaho: Winchester Community Library Community Garden
    This project will turn a public patio and outdoor space at a library into a community garden, which will include garden beds and ADA-accessible benches. The library will provide programming focused on sustainability and fostering healthy, safe and food-secure communities.
  • Chariton, Iowa: Chariton Free Public Library
    This project will transform land adjacent to the library into an accessible gathering space and sensory garden, which will be open year-round and offer educational events on gardening, wildlife and nature appreciation.
  • Logan, Iowa: Logan Public Library
    This project will turn an underutilized lawn into an accessible public area with the addition of a covered gazebo, seating and an ADA-accessible picnic table.
  • Wilton, Iowa: Wilton Public Library
    This project will improve a garden space by developing a sensory area for all ages. The upgrades will provide shade and increase comfortable seating options, ensuring the space is accessible for all users. Master gardeners will help guide planting, with the aim of growing produce.

If you missed the call for applicants, make sure to follow the AARP Livable Communities initiative so you don’t miss the 2024 call for applicants.

Final call for nominations for the I Partner with My Public Library Award

We are thrilled to share that we’ve already received nominations from 10 states of the US for our inaugural “I Partner With My Public Library Award.”

Has a community partner made a difference by collaborating with your public library? The I Partner With My Public Library Award invites you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public library partners. Each year, up to 10 partners are honored at a ceremony held in their honor.

Nominations will be accepted through the end of August 2023.

The I Partner With My Library Award will shine a light on positive things happening through library–community collaborations.

Submitting a nomination is the perfect way to thank your library’s partners while also contributing to a national conversation on the critical importance of community collaborators to the work of public librarianship. Partnerships of all types will be celebrated!

To inspire your nominations, here are some brief excerpts from some of the nominations we received in July:

  • “[Partner agency] is instrumental in helping library staff understand the needs and barriers that many childcare providers have in accessing library resources and bringing ideas of how to make it easy to use the library. Likewise, they have educated themselves on current library services like computer classes, technology help offerings, library of things, to tell providers in the area what the library has for them. Early childhood educators, the children and families they serve, and the library all win because of [this] partnership with our libraries!”
  • “The [seed library] project, a collaboration between the the Garden Club, the Master Gardeners, and the Friends of the Library has proven a hit with all ages. A committee comprised of representatives from each group (as well as library staff) ensure that the library remains stocked and that seeds are distributed when in-season and will all the necessary info for even a novice gardener. The library is stocked with both donated seeds and seeds that have been purchased by the Friends of the DeLand Library. The Master Gardeners have taught participants to harvest seeds in library programs, while the Garden Club members have donated countless seeds from their own gardens. The Seed Library program has exceeded expectations, providing community members with a free means to grow their own vegetables, herbs, and flowers.”
  • “[Partner] was so generous in offering exciting science shows and bringing real scientists and engineers to talk to youth about careers in science.”

Join us in this new endeavor and submit your nominations now!!

An invitation to our next Birds of a Feather online conversation

Want to join a community of public library workers and public library partners? Join us in our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation series.

Beginning in February 2023, we host monthly one-hour Birds of a Feather online conversation. The next event will be August 16. Join us for an inspiring, engaging, open and lively conversation.

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 July 2023 conversation, Dacy L. Shute, Community Engagement Librarian, Hickory (North Carolina) Public Library shared with us this amazing Kitchen Cart Inventory List that she used to procure kitchen equipment at her library, with a grant from the State Library of North Carolina.

In a follow-up email, Dacy wrote “I highly recommend the book The Food Lab: Better Food Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt for those interested in building a kitchen inventory. This book is a really comprehensive guide to cooking. It has conversion charts and explanations for things like conduction v. convection, temperature v. heat, etc. The most useful part, in my opinion, is his section in the introduction titled “Essential Kitchen Gear.” He discusses materials, maintenance, and uses for different types of pots and pans. He covers peelers, cutting boards, knives, thermometers, appliances, etc. There is also a section titled “The Basic Pantry” which covers food storage & safety, how to best organize your refrigerator, and a standard stock of items to have in your dry or cold pantry. It’s a great starting point for gathering up a list of things you may want or need for a kitchen cart.”

“I opted for biodegradable paper plates and bowls but decided to go for real silverware. I felt it was more sustainable environmentally and financially. This does mean washing cutlery at every program. I personally think it’s easier to wash cutlery than several plates.”

“Where possible I also tried to purchase things that have more than one function for space. For example, the blender also has a food processor attachment, our oven is an airfryer, dehydrator, and bread proofer, and our citrus ream has a zester on the handle.”

“The adaptable part of this list is that people can opt for items in a variety of price ranges. I choose the pots and pans based on quality, but pots and pans could be chosen based on budget. Likewise, this inventory list could be cut down depending on what kinds of classes a library wants to host.”

We had a lively conversation about cooking programs in libraries, and the following other resources were shared:

A cooking camp rule: Don’t ‘yuck’ someone else’s ‘yum’: Local girls enjoy a cooking camp at the Bucyrus Public Library

Food for Life cooking classes offered at library

Sacramento Public Library: Confidence in the Kitchen

Kitchen tool lending at Berkeley Public Library 

Baking Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card: Libraries across the country include cake pans and other kitchen tools in their collections. 

Edible Education mobile kitchen

Charlie Cart Project

Join us August 16  for our next Birds of a Feather online conversation.

Inspiring stories from Iowa

We want to thank librarians from Iowa for sharing the following inspires stories. Share your story to be featured in a future newsletter and on our website!

Maryann Mori from the State Library of Iowa shares:

“This is a blog post made by Matt Burkey, the ‘Safe Routes to School’ coordinator at the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. It discusses the Coalition’s recent partnership with a small, rural library in Northwest Iowa, and the bike rodeo conducted by that library. I think you’ll find the info interesting!

Additionally, that post references a “Kernels” webinar episode that I just facilitated this week for the State Library of Iowa–one that featured Matt as well as the Youth Services librarian who hosted the bike rodeo. Matt references this recording in his post, but here’s the direct link to “Partners in Kernels: Bike Rodeos.” 

Was this newsletter forwarded to you?

Subscribe to the Let’s Move in Libraries newsletter for monthly editions of success stories, educational opportunities, and food for thought that will deepen the impact of HEAL (Healthy Eating & Active Living) programs and services in public libraries. Also follow the project on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter to stay up-to-date. The Let’s Move in Libraries project focuses on how public libraries create opportunities for individuals of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy activities.