The January 2022 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • A community conversation on how to bring nature into public librarianship
  • A webinar on how to introduce your community to healthy habits
  • An invitation for you to share your expertise
  • The launch of the American Public Health Association’s Keep It Moving Challenge
  • The release of our first HEAL at the Library case study

This month’s featured image comes from Orono, Maine, where “the Orono Public Library is permanently hosting a story in the park every season thanks to American Rescue Plan Act dollars that came through the Maine State Library. Other donors who made the story walk happen are the Orono-Old Town Kiwanis and the Orono Masons.” Learn more in this great news article and video released by WCSH, based in Portland, Maine.

“They are just a great way to have kids enjoy stories and also get some physical activity as well—those are two essential things for childhood,” Youth services librarian Lindsay Varnum said.

Get started with StoryWalk® programming at our resource page.

A community conversation on how to bring nature into public librarianship

Start the new year by discussing how to integrate nature and the great outdoors into your programming! In this Community of Practice conversation, Kelly Senser, Programming coordinator for Loudoun County Public Library, Virginia, and Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board member invites you to join her and other librarians to exchange resources and ideas about how to most effectively support access to nature through public libraries.

Come ready to turn on your mic, camera, and participate. Register here! The live conversation takes place January 20, 2022 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time, 9:00 AM Pacific Time.

About Kelly: Equal parts reader and nature explorer, she regards libraries and the great outdoors as treasured spaces to nurture one’s sense of wonder. During her 20 years at National Wildlife Federation, gardening for wildlife and the benefits of outdoor play were centerpieces of the content and programs she created. Passions for these subjects and community-building now fuel her local efforts to connect people with nature. Kelly has been a certified Virginia Master Naturalist since 2015.

Register here! Share this invitation widely. All are invited!

A webinar on how to introduce your community to healthy habits

Trying something new can be intimidating. Sometimes it just takes a trusted institution, like a public library, to offer an introduction for someone to take that step. Library staff will learn in this webinar how to build partnerships and to offer classes that bring wellness to the forefront. Learn how in “How to introduce your community to new healthy habits” taking place on February 24, 2022 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, 10 AM Pacific Time, in Zoom. Register here!

This free webinar is led by Erin Schmändt of the Caro Area District Library, who presented this topic as “Yoga? Zumba? Meditation? Those Aren’t For me!” at the Leading Big in Small Places virtual rural library conference sponsored by the University of Michigan School of Information, the Library of Michigan, and the Institute of Museum & Library Services on November 17, 2021.

Here is more information on Erin’s journey, from the presentation:
“A few years ago, my assistant director and I attended training from the Harwood Institute on Community Conversations. It taught us, as the library, to Turn Outward and start conversations with residents about what they wanted their community to be. From that we learned many things. One was that while our community has lots of wide, open spaces (fields and forests), we also have high rates of obesity, smoking, and unhealthy habits.
Another was that while we have unhealthy habits, many residents want opportunities to live an active, healthy lifestyle. I was raised by generations and generations of farmers and people involved in the agricultural field. They know what hard work is, but are often too busy working to focus on the healthy part. The conversations helped make some things happen in the community regarding parks. Now, how could the library help? We can teach them new activities that will add to a healthy, active lifestyle. Why the library? They trust us. We have been teaching them for decades. Literacy activities for their kids, computer classes, craft classes, and so much more. Walking Club was the first fitness program that we started.”

Learn more in the webinar! Register here!

Share your expertise

Let’s Move in Libraries exists as a platform for public library workers and their partners to come together and share resources to advance community health for all!

We are particularly interested in efforts that increase access to physical activity, physical literacy, food literacy, and food itself.

To that end, we are launching a Let’s Move in Libraries Experts directory.

Do you, or have you, successfully advanced community health through your library? Then you are an Expert!

Share your expertise by filling out this short, one-page form.

To kick-start this new initiative, we are asking for library workers or partners with expertise in the following topics to participate. In the future, we’ll be expanding even further, but we need to get started!

  • Active early learning at the library
  • Nature and outdoor library programming and spaces
  • Yoga and meditation in a library context
  • Food and culinary literacy at the library
  • Teamwork makes the dream work: starting and sustaining community partnerships

Our hope is to use this new Let’s Move in Libraries Experts directory to facilitate resource sharing, celebrate innovative library workers, and catalyze an international conversation on these and other topics! Join us!

The launch of the American Public Health Association’s Keep It Moving Challenge

Join APHA’s Keep It Moving Challenge!
APHA’s Keep It Moving Challenge makes it easy and fun to promote healthy behaviors and physical activity in your community. We have tools to help you find creative ways to stay active and motivate others in your library and in your community. Invite your whole community to join!

The 2022 Challenge begins Jan. 1 and runs through April 10, the last day of APHA’s celebration of National Public Health Week. No matter how big or small your group will be, we make it easy for you to get people moving. They’ll have cool prizes at every level. Sign up today!

Let’s start a movement for active communities!

The Keep It Moving Challenge supports national health promotion efforts, including the Move Your Way campaign by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion to educate the public on the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept most of us indoors, which has made it harder to stay physically active. We’re hoping to create a movement to encourage people to get active every day, even while spending most of our time at home and keeping our physical distance.

The Keep It Moving Challenge is fun, healthy and a great platform for starting larger conversations about the intersections between community design and active living. From Jan. 1 to April 10, we hope you’ll get your community involved in participating in the Challenge. We know we can reach our goal of more than a billion collective steps — in fact, last year’s Challenge nearly reached 2 billion steps!

Help us do even better this time around.

Challenge Key Dates:
Challenge start: Jan. 1, 2022
Challenge end: April 10, 2022

The release of our first HEAL at the Library case study

In Summer 2020, the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services funded the HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) at the Library project, led by Let’s Move in Libraries founder Dr. Noah Lenstra.

The website for the project is now live!

We are thrilled to share that we have now published our first HEAL at the Library Case Study.

Learn how the Laurel Public Library in Delaware transformed how it engaged its community, and as a result of that transformation was able to do new things to support community health, including helping to launch a fitness trail and a farm to patron food initiative.

In future newsletters, we’ll be launching new case studies that show how public libraries across the United States have leveraged community partnerships to successfully support community health.

Have a story you want to share? Contact us!

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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 healthy living programs and partnerships involving public libraries. Also follow the project on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date. The Let’s Move in Libraries is an international initiative focused on supporting Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) through public library programs and partnerships.