February 2023 Newsletter


The February 2023 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • An invitation to our April HEAL at the Library Symposium
  • An invitation to our first Birds of a Feather online conversation
  • A reminder that February is American Heart Month
  • A funding opportunity from AARP Livable Communities
  • Tips for other sources to find funding for your library’s health promotion efforts
  • Call for nominations for Wellness in the Library Workplace
  • The recording of our virtual conversation on food security and libraries
  • Inspiring stories from Oklahoma and South Carolina

This month’s featured images comes from “A Taxonomy of Black History Month Programming in Public Libraries,” an effort undertaken by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

The researchers discovered that common Black History Month (BHM) programming includes health screenings, demonstrations and classes of cooking, dancing, martial arts demonstrations (e.g. Capoeira), Black History Month StoryWalks, and much more. You’ll see in this presentation more data on how public librarians weave a together a celebration of Black History Month with the promotion of community health.

Looking for ideas for your library? We encourage you to check out the non-profit Oldways, and in particular their curriculum for an African Heritage Diet. Sarah Anderson of Oldways was the keynote speaker at Gather at the Virtual Table: Community Conversations on Food and Librarianship, held online May 12, 2022. Watch the recording of this event at this link. And get some ideas of content to share on your social media in 2023 with Oldways: They invite you to join them as they commemorate Black History Month in February with a celebration of the African Heritage Diet.

An invitation to our April HEAL at the Library Symposium

We are THRILLED to share the invitation for Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library.

During the month of April, 2023, Let’s Move in Libraries will be hosting a series of conversations open to all, each featuring 2-4 librarians talking about their experiences working collaboratively with others to promote community health.

This event will also feature the launch of a Toolkit you can use to inject new energy into your health programs and partnerships.

We are still finalizing the exact dates for these conversations – all of which will be recorded – and at this point we invite you to fill out this form to save the date.

When the event webpage becomes available in mid-February, 2023, you’ll be the first to know!

This event is part of the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services funded HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) at the Library (#RE-246336-OLS-20).

Please share this announcement widely! We want all to join us for this event.

An invitation to our first Birds of a Feather online conversation

During our Advisory Board conversations, we have discussed the critical importance of having a space for library workers to discuss and share what they’re doing and what they aspire to do.

To that end, beginning in February 2023, we will be hosting monthly one-hour Birds of a Feather online 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.

Every month Let’s Move in Libraries will host a drop-in virtual conversation in which participants will be invited to join break-out rooms to discuss with colleagues their shared interests. Every month the categories will change. The idea is “birds of a feather flock together.” Topics may include the following: StoryWalks, Senior Fitness, Gardening, Food Security, Health Equity, Rural Communities, Urban Communities, Partnership Ideas, and more. Have an idea you’d like to talk about with your colleagues, let us know. Event will be third Wednesday of the month, every month.

A reminder that February is American Heart Month

Our thanks to Cobb County Public Library in Georgia for this reminder that February is American Heart Month, and that as part of that February 3 is National Wear Read Day®.

Cobb County Public Library Heart Health Campaign Now Features Go Red for Women Walk Events

Cobb County Public Library workers in Georgia have expanded their annual Go Red for Women initiative to include walk events Jan. 31-Feb. 4 at seven library locations.

National Wear Red Day® is Feb. 3 and February is American Heart Month. The Cobb library 2023 initiative is occurring as the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign increasingly promotes how making a commitment to regular exercise with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors is a good strategy for heart health.

CCPL workers encourage the public to wear red and join them in the walks to share with the community – Georgia’s third most populous county – the critical messages of the importance of women of all ages knowing heart disease risks and symptoms and how walking groups support women in reaching sustainable health goals.

According to the AHA, “It’s no longer just about wearing red; it’s no longer just about sharing heart health facts. It’s about all women making a commitment to stand together with Go Red and taking charge of their own heart health as well as the health of those they can’t bear to live without. Making a commitment to your health isn’t something you have to do alone either, so grab a friend or a family member and Go Red today.”

“Over the years of our Go Red campaign, we’ve experienced such a high level of camaraderie through wearing red and creating displays, signs and sharing social media Go Red messages,” said Tom Brooks, CCPL communications specialist.

“It became very clear that we simply have to do more, move, literally take steps together, to strengthen our Go Red campaign,” he said. “Any library of any size can Go Red.”

Among the excellent resources Brooks points to is the AHA article, “Walking your way to better health? Remember the acronym FIT” which quotes Dr. Felipe Lobelo, director of Emory University’s Exercise is Medicine Global Research and Collaboration Center in Atlanta.

FIT, Dr. Lobelo says, “stands for frequency, intensity and time.”

Adds Lobelo in the article: “Just remember, ‘every step counts. Every minute counts. Anything is better than sitting.”


Go Red for Women

Walking your way to better health? Remember the acronym FIT

Start or Join a Walking Club

A funding opportunity from the AARP

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. In 2023, the AARP Community Challenge is accepting applications across three different grant opportunities, two of which are new this year. New grant opportunities in 2023 include opportunities to host walk audits and to start or enhance a community garden.

Deadline: Wednesday, March 15, 5 p.m. (ET). Start your application and learn more here.

Many, many public libraries have been funded through this grant in the past. You can see our list of libraries that received funding in 2021 in our August 2021 newsletter, and you can see the full list of libraries that have been funded by going to this map and searching for the word “library.” You can see what other libraries have done and get inspired to do your own application!

When you are searching the database, this image on the right is what you should see when you search for libraries. Use this list of past library projects to get inspired for your own applications. You can also access this list directly in this newsletter. Click the links below to see how these 31 libraries utilized AARP grants to make communities livable for people of all ages.

Avoca Public Library

Chelmsford Public Library

Chilton Public Library

Conyers Rockdale Library System

Dunedin Public Library

East Side Freedom Library

El Rito Library

Embudo Valley Library and Community Center

Emmett Public Library

Fern Ridge Public Library

Friends of the Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library

Georgetown Public Library

Gooding Public Library Foundation

Grand Forks Public Library

Hazen Public Library

La Crosse Public Library

Lemmon Public Library

McIntosh Memorial Library

Mesa County Public Library District dba Mesa County Libraries

North Hero Public Library

Providence Community Library

Raymond Village Library

Richland Library

The Friends of the Snohomish Library (FOL)

The Malvern-Hot Spring County Library

The Malvern-Hot Spring County Library

Upshur County Public Library

Vallecitos Community Center and Library

Valley of the Tetons Library

Waynesboro-Wayne County Library

West Chester Public Library

Wichita Public Library

In addition to being lead applicants on successful AARP Community Challenge grants, many other libraries have supported others in their applications. So go out and start a conversation with your community, you never know what will happen!

Start your application here.

Tips for other sources to find funding for your library’s health promotion efforts

We want to thank the Project for Public Spaces for their just released guide on how to “Get Funded: Tips for a New Era of Placemaking Philanthropy.” It states “As new funding opportunities emerge in the world of public space philanthropy, placemaking is enjoying unprecedented recognition—and unprecedented funding opportunities, to match. Below is a compilation of just some of the many ways placemakers can connect to these opportunities, and take projects from the idea stage to the implementation stage.”

Here at Let’s Move in Libraries, we believe that librarians ARE placemakers. We work collaboratively with communities to create, or make, equitable, accessible, and thriving communities. Check out Get Funded: Tips for a New Era of Placemaking Philanthropy to learn how to get the funds you and your library need to accelerate your placemaking efforts.

Looking for more ideas? Join America Walks and AARP Livable Communities on Tuesday, February 14th for a webinar titled The Walk Audit: An Effective Tool for Community Change, which will include an announcement about new resources and funding.  A panel of Walking College Fellows will discuss their experience using Walk Audits to engage the public, build awareness of the importance of walkable design, identify specific pedestrian safety issues, and advance policy and community development goals. An extremely versatile tool, a Walk Audit can be conducted alone, with a group of other concerned residents to document needed changes, or with public officials who have the power to do something about it.

Call for nominations for Wellness in the Library Workplace

Two individuals reading outdoors alongside the text Please share with your networks. Deadline, February 15.

In recognition of the fact that library staff are our greatest asset in building and supporting sustainable libraries and communities, the ALA Sustainability Roundtable (SustainRT) is recognizing libraries that go above and beyond in meeting the wellness needs of their staff with the SustainRT Citation for Wellness in the Workplace. All ALA members are invited to nominate any library whose efforts to meet the needs of their staff in the areas of continuing education and creating a positive work environment have advanced sustainability and encouraged wellness. This may include wellness initiatives for unions, gender equity, pay equity, and other activities designed to improve the salaries and status of library professionals. The SustainRT’s Citation for Wellness in the Workplace carries on the work begun by ALA Past-President Loida Garcia-Febo with her Presidential Citation for Wellness in the Workplace and her commitment to the wellness of library workers. Garcia-Febo says, “As a woman with deep interests in mental and physical health, and the well-being of library workers, wellness is of utmost importance to me. Libraries have the power to help transform lives through efforts promoting wellness. I hope this citation motivates libraries everywhere to support the overall well-being of their staff.”

The recording of our virtual conversation on food security and libraries

On January 24, 2023 we hosted an inspiring and informative conversation on What role should public libraries play in addressing food insecurity? In what ways can public libraries address food insecurity in their communities?

Go to the event webpage to access the webinar recording, the slides, a JamBoard featuring ideas shared by participating libraries, and additional resources shared by participants. Our thanks to Dr. Miriam Rosen for leading this important conversation!

Inspiring stories from Oklahoma and South Carolina

We want to thank these librarians for sharing their stories! 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!

Tiffany Williams, Charleston County Public Library in South Carolina writes that the Cynthia Graham Hurd St. Andrews Library has supported healthy living as follows:

“In November, the Children’s Department created a StoryWalk on the front lawn. Families walked around the library and read the story The Hike by Allison Farrell.

There were so many animals in the book, so we hid pictures of animals near bushes and trees, and the children used binoculars to find the animals as part of the scavenger hunt. A character in the book has a sketchbook with drawings of what she observed on the hike, so we created sketchbooks for the children to do leaf rubbings, draw pictures, or write about their experience during the StoryWalk. When the children returned the binoculars, they received a paracord bracelet as a prize.

The families enjoyed the StoryWalk and the interactive activities. Parents who completed the survey noted their favorite parts of the experience were spending time outside, reading outside, spending time with family drawing, and using the binoculars to find the animals. Our StoryWalk promoted literacy and movement, as well as exploring nature and learning about cooperation.”

Johanna Burton, Generalist Library Associate, Tulsa (Okla.) City-County Library writes “Tulsa City-County Library has had a seed library at some locations since 2014 but the pandemic hit just as Tulsa’s spring planting season began. We were completely closed until mid-May 2020. Meanwhile, everybody and their brother had taken up gardening. How could we get as many seeds as possible in Tulsa gardens while offering only curbside service?”

Learn more in Operation Gardeners’ Advisory.

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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 FacebookInstagram, 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.

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