The January 2024 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • Information on upcoming webinars
  • A new blog post on How to Sustain a Health & Fitness Literacy Program in Your Library
  • New resources from our friends at Oldways
  • Inspiring stories from Florida and Colorado
  • An invitation to our monthly Birds of a Feather call
  • A recap of 2023 and a preview of 2024

This month’s featured image comes our our friends at the Children & Nature Network. In October 2022, they launched The Trailhead, a vibrant online community where you’ll find a variety of groups where you can connect with people who share your interests, such as Nature for All, Children and Nature Collaboratives, Families Together in Nature, and much more!

A number of librarians have already joined The Trailhead, including folks from North Carolina, Arizona, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, Virginia, and South Carolina.

Get started and join in at The Trailhead.

Information on upcoming webinars

Join us Wednesday February 14 at 2:00 pm US Eastern, 11:00 am US Pacific for Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library. This webinar, based on the HEAL at the Library Project, will be hosted by Niche Academy, and is open to all!

Here’s a description: “We all know that teamwork makes the dream work, but what does that actually mean for the day-to-day work of librarianship? Cultivating and sustaining the relationship-driven library has four steps: 1) planting the seeds of partnership, 2) nurturing co-developed ideas, 3) harvesting and celebrating accomplishments, and 4) resting and preparing for future partnerships. Join Noah Lenstra for this webinar on building the relationship-driven library. You’ll leave this session with renewed confidence in your ability to find partners, cultivate working relationships with them, and keep relationships fresh and impactful, as well as how to tactfully step back from relationships that aren’t working the way you hoped they would. Finally, you’ll learn how to advocate for the time you need for this process. If you’re interested but not able to attend the live webinar, go ahead and register. We’ll send a recording to all registrants after the fact.”

You’re also invited to join us January 25, 2024, 12-1 pm Eastern / 9-10 am Pacific for “Passing the Baton: A Deep Dive into Course Development on Public Library Partnerships.” Here’s the description: “In 2022, Zach Stier started planning for a new course on Public Library Partnerships offered online at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This webinar and conversation features Zach’s journey developing this course, his lessons learned, and the importance of this topic. This event is open to all, but may be especially relevant to those involved in developing curriculum or teaching topics such as public librarianship and community engagement. We also invite librarians, especially public librarians, to join us. Zach will share some of the elements of his course, and we will invite you to share how you teach this topic, or how you think this topic should be taught. Join us for a lively, interactive, and informative discussion!”

We hope to see you at these upcoming events!

New blog post on How to Sustain a Health & Fitness Literacy Program in Your Library

Our thanks to Let’s Move in Libraries Advisor and public library director Nicole Miller for writing a new blog post for us on “How to Sustain a Health & Fitness Literacy Program in Your Library.”

Here is an excerpt:

“Let’s say you just had your first fitness class in your library. Patrons got excited and have been giving you feedback about how awesome the program was and they want more. Now what?

Since we’re all working with limited budgets, one of our foremost thoughts tends to be how to make the program sustainable and economical. Generally, most libraries don’t have it in their budgets to afford to pay a fitness professional to come to the library to teach weekly programs. And unless you’re really lucky, you won’t find a qualified fitness professional who will volunteer their time to teach weekly classes in your space. Enter nontraditional professional development.

Before doing anything else, identify your target audience. After you’ve identified your target audience, talk to them to find out what they’re interested in and what times work for them. Then act on that information.

I found that the most economical way to sustain a fitness literacy program in my library was to invest a few hundred dollars per year toward fitness certification and continuing education. Options can be as simple or as complex as you want. It could be as simple as specialized certifications for yoga teacher training, for older adults with GeriFit, ChairOne Fitness, or Walk With Ease or more broadly focused like group fitness instructor certification with organizations like ACE, AFAA, or NETA.”

Read the full blog post at How to Sustain a Health & Fitness Literacy Program in Your Library.

Try something new in the new year with Oldways!

We want to thank our friends at Oldways, a food and nutrition non-profit helping people live healthier, happier lives, for sharing with us some updates in their work.

A Taste of Latin American Heritage, a bilingual (English-Spanish) 6-week cooking and nutrition curriculum, has been completed and is available digitally and physically.

A Taste of African Heritageis a 6-week cooking curriculum that celebrates the healthy, vibrant, plant-based food traditions from across the African Diaspora with an emphasis on history, nutrition, and cooking techniques. Exciting updates: Oldways recently crafted a fitness workshop for the adults’ curriculum, thus combining healthy eating and physical activity.

A Children’s Taste of African Heritage has movement activities embedded in it to keep it immersive and actively engaging to kids.

Oldways also just released a guide featuring Tips for Implementing the Curriculum detailing successful Oldways heritage class offerings.

Want to learn more about Oldways? Check out our Spring 2022 event, Gather at the Virtual Table: Community Conversations on Food and Librarianship, where the Oldways Heritage Diets Manager was our keynote speaker!

Oldways has self-guided e-courses and pre-recorded videos that you could use for classes at your library. This would be a great thing to ask for in a grant or in a one-time donation from a community foundation.

If you’d like to know more, reach out to Sarah Anderson.

Inspiring stories from Florida and Colorado

Sandra Gordon from St. Petersburg, Florida recently reached out to us to share that in 2023 her library — the West Community Library of the St. Petersburg Library System — did their very first StoryWalk.

She added that “We had  our storywalk in the park located on our library grounds. We had many parents reading with the kids then going to play on our slides and swings.”

We also want to thank Cristy Moran, Adult Services Library Senior Consultant at Colorado State Library, for sharing this awesome news from Colorado!

Cristy writes on the Colorado Virtual Library’s blog that “Demographic trends in Colorado are indisputable: we’re getting older and we’re staying put. According to the Colorado State Demographer’s Office, 55+ age individuals make up approximately 39% of the state’s population as of 2022. By 2030, the population of individuals 75 and older is estimated to increase by a minimum of 67%. Colorado is getting older. And the total population is growing… just not for those younger folks!

This means our libraries – who are already positioned to meet our communities needs – are tasked with expanding the services we already have for older and aging folks to meet the critical demand that our demographic changes are signaling.

Working with partners is great, and so is getting our hands dirty and running programs ourselves – especially when the programs are fun and when we can benefit from them just as our participants do.

And here’s where we can fit in, delivering programming that meets the moment today for our community of all ages and meet the moments to come as our population ages and continues in the homes and neighborhoods they know and love.

Colorado State Library is exploring tools for our libraries to deliver quality programs that meet our community needs as they change.”

One tool Cristy shares in her blog post is Ageless Grace®, an evidence-based brain fitness program consisting of 21 simple movement ‘tools’ designed for all ages and abilities. The ‘tools’ are based on everyday movements that are natural and organic, and focus on the healthy functionality of the brain and body.

Learn more at the Colorado Virtual Library.

Also learn more about Ageless Grace in an article we published on Ageless Grace at the Library a few years ago, featuring the story of Shrewsbury Public Library in Massachusetts.

Thanks for sharing your news, Cristy and Sandra! We invite all to share their stories through Let’s Move in Libraries to inspire others.

How and Why to join our Birds of a Feather Zoom call in January

Want to join a community of public library workers and partners interested in the topics celebrated by Let’s Move in Libraries?

Have a burning question you’d like to ask other librarians?

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 January 17, 2024. 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!

Here are some of the resources shared during our last two calls. We try to aggregate resources shared and send them out in our newsletters.

  1. Sacramento Public Library is kicking off 2024 with a 3-month series of cooking programs around “Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook,” funded by the NNLM’s All of Us initiative with University of California Davis as a partner.  Learn more and even sign up for the three cooking at home zoom sessions. You can also share this link with your patrons. Library staff confirmed that EVERYONE is welcome to these events, in which Illyanna Maisonet, James Beard Award-winning writer, will lead a virtual cooking demonstration, featuring recipes from her cookbook “Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook.” Illyanna’s mission is to highlight dishes where the ingredients are accessible, traditional, and can feed a large family on a budget.

  2. Interested in trying to weave Yoga into your youth programming? A participant recommended YogaRenew’s online training, which she was able to take for only $97. Another option is Little Flower, which was a little more cost prohibitive.

  3. We also had a discussion of evidence-based movement and nutrition programming for older adults, with some resources shared including National Falls Prevention Awareness Week, A Matter of Balance, Bingocize, Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance, and more. Learn more at the National Council on Aging’s Evidence-Based Programs for Professionals, which includes many other options, including our partners Geri-Fit® Strength Training Program for Older Adults. One participant mentioned that she has been able to bring some of these programs to her library through a partnership with an Area Agency on Aging. Learn more about this partnership idea at the Programming Librarian.

  4. For a similar database of evidence-based nutrition programs, check out the USDA’s SNAP-Ed Toolkit, which includes courses like “Fresh Conversations (FC) a direct education, newsletter-based intervention for seniors. FC targets behaviors known to reduce chronic disease burden and promote healthy aging.” These may be programs you can do in collaboration with your state’s SNAP-Ed implementing agency, with your local extension agent, or with another partner.

  5. We also had a great conversation on the importance of thinking locally when you’re trying to find funds and to get your library story out. Some outreach tips shared included local blogs, your local 211 representative, local radio stations, church bulletins, grocery store bulletin boards, and hyperlocal funders like Elks Lodges.
  6. Additional resources shared included: the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, Run with My Child, 1000 Hours Outside, and Pam Warhurst’s TED talk How we can eat our landscapes.

A look back at what we did in 2023, and a preview of 2024

As we start 2024, we wanted to take a look back at what we did in 2023! Some of our accomplishments include:

  • The culmination of our three-year HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) at the Library project, which included an online event in April, the launch of a toolkit, and 18 case studies featuring public librarians working in collaboration with communities to increase access healthy eating and active living opportunities
  • The publication of The 12 Steps to a Community-Led Library by American Library Association Editions, which features some of the lessons learned from the HEAL at the Library Project
  • The launch of our annual I Partner with My Public Library Award program: Every year we’ll ask public libraries to nominate their partners and every year we’ll award 10 to create momentum around the idea of community partnerships as central to the work of librarianship
  • The start of our filing for national 501(C)3 Non-Profit status with the U.S. Federal Government. During 2023 we achieved this status in the State of North Carolina!
  • The start of our monthly Birds of a Feather drop-in calls for resource sharing, networking, and so much more!
  • Another successful StoryWalk Week in November in collaboration with our friends at the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS)

2024 promises to be just as energizing! Here are a few things to look forward to and to mark your calendars for:

  • January 2024 – Beginning of the second year of our Birds of a Feather drop-in calls
  • February 2024 – A webinar on Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library based on the HEAL project with Niche Academy
  • April 2024 – We’ll be at the Public Library Association Conference in Ohio! Look for us for free copies of our HEAL at the Library Toolkit
  • May 2024 – Circulation of preliminary findings of the Food Justice & Public Librarianship project
  • June 2024 – Circulation of a call for 2024 I Partner with My Public Library Award nominations
  • August 2024 – Submission period for the 2024 I Partner with My Public Library Award nominations closes
  • September 2024 – We’ll be at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference in Massachusetts! Look for us for free copies of our HEAL at the Library Toolkit
  • October 2024 – Circulation of a call for StoryWalk Week 2024 submission
  • November 2024 – StoryWalk Week 2024
  • December 2024 – I Partner with My Public Library Awards Ceremony

We can’t wait! What do you have planned for 2024? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

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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 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.