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

  • A funding opportunity from the League of American Bicyclists
  • A webinar recording on library programming in the great outdoors
  • A press release announcing the Libraries & Food online community
  • Inspirational stories of librarians starting community fridges, StoryWalks, and much, much more

This month’s featured image comes from Kingsville (Ohio) Public Library, which held the grand opening of its new Education and Exploration Garden in the open space behind the library on Saturday, May 21.

The garden renovation was made possible through multiple grants and memorial donations, including a grant opportunity through the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s Environmental Stewardship Pillar of Prosperity Fund. Thanks to Mariana Branch, library director, for sharing this story and photo. Learn more in the article Kingsville Public Library celebrates Education and Exploration Garden grand opening.

Interested in learning more about this trend? Learn more in the just published research article “The Emerging Role of Outdoor Public Librarianship: Understanding the Need for Strengthened Infrastructure,” written by Drs. Noah Lenstra and Kathleen “Katie” Campana. Thanks to the more than 700 public librarians who completed the survey on this trend in September 2021.

A funding opportunity from the League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists believes that YOU have the power to build a Bicycle Friendly America, starting from within your own community.

So much so that they are launching the League of American Bicyclists’ Community Spark Grants — their first-ever community grant program!

They hope this seed funding can be the spark that puts your next idea into action.

10 communities will receive grants of up to $1,500 to help get small-scale biking projects off the ground and spark more ways to get people moving on bikes. Grant applications are OPEN now through July 15, 2022!

Click Here To Learn More

A webinar recording on library programming in the great outdoors

On June 1, 2022, the Idaho Commission for Libraries held a webinar on Library Programming in the Great Outdoors. The webinar recording is now available online. Watch it here.

Here’s the full description: “One of the best parts about living in Idaho is access to outdoor recreation. Libraries in our state find new and innovative ways to take their programs and services outside to take advantage of Idaho’s unique environment. During this Info2Go session, we will hear from the Twin Falls Public Library and Donnelly Public Library about how they have moved their programming outside. Michelle Youngquist, from Project Learning Tree, will also share resources for Idaho library staff to learn more about the outdoors and help plan high-quality outdoor programming.”

A press release announcing the Libraries & Food online community

We invite ALL to widely circulate the following press release: 

Gather at the Virtual Table: Community Conversations on Food and Librarianship

In Fall 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, an informal group of librarians, library scholars, and library partners started meeting online to work towards creating more resources for library workers interested in weaving food into their professional practices.

 This group included urban and rural public librarians, state library agency staff, Library & Information Science program faculty, health scholars, and publishers and authors.

 The catalyst for this group was the recognition that many individuals and organizations across the country are working on connecting food, culinary literacy, food security, and libraries.

From those conversations emerged the idea of a free, online event about food and libraries. On May 12, 2022, over a hundred people met online for the half-day event, Gather at the Virtual Table: Community Conversations on Food and Librarianship.

 The event began with a keynote speech by Sarah Anderson, who in 2020 joined Oldways, a nonprofit organization helping people rediscover and embrace the healthy, sustainable joys of the “old ways” of shared cultural traditions and foodways. Sarah is Heritage Diets Curriculum Coordinator for Oldways. She shared with the group her work as outreach and site coordinator for Oldways’ heritage diet programs: A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH), A Children’s Taste of African Heritage (ACTOAH), and A Taste of Latin American Heritage (ATOLAH).

“I enjoyed hearing Sarah Anderson talk about cultural food heritage.”

  • Gather at the Virtual Table participant

After the keynote, participants moved into breakout rooms focused on connecting books, cultural diversity, and food; food security and community solutions; getting started with food programming; getting started in a small or rural context; and planning for culinary literacy.

In between the breakout sessions, Raquel Sharp of The Charlie Cart Project joined Block of Cuyahoga County Public Library for a cooking demonstration.

The event ended with a conversation about where we can go from here, as images from participating libraries’ efforts to connect libraries and food were displayed in the Zoom room.

“This has been so great, thank you to everyone who made this happen! Hope to be able to come back and share progress next time!”

  • Gather at the Virtual Table participant

Watch the recording of the main room discussions (everything except for the breakout rooms, which were not recorded).

“I learned what a variety of food events are being presented in libraries” 

  • Gather at the Virtual Table participant

Connect with us on Facebook at Libraries and Food.

We are also planning an informal, in-person convening at the 2022 meeting of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries in Chattanooga, TN, September 14-17. Specific date TBD and to be shared in our Facebook Group.

Finally, we are planning to meet regularly for one-hour meetup discussions, beginning later this year. Webinars will focus on one of the following three thematic areas:

  • How to cultivate your personal passions to create community impact (e.g. avid gardeners develop gardening programs)
  • Understanding community need to develop responsive community services (e.g. identify locations with insufficient access to healthy food and work with others to improve such conditions)
  • How to successfully work collaboratively with others (e.g. SNAP-Ed, Cooperative Extension)

All will feature librarians with experience and expertise from a diversity of communities across the country. In addition to being information-packed, webinars will include time for dialogue and open resource sharing.

“We (libraries) provide services to communities and as odd as it may sound, feeding our communities is a service. It’s not a traditional library service, but it is a service!”

  • Gather at the Virtual Table participant

Connect with us at the Facebook group above to learn more, participate in discussions, or to help plan future events – whatever your interest and availability, we invite you to be part of this national conversation about libraries and food! Also don’t forget to use and follow the hashtag #LibrariesAndFood across all social media platforms.

“What a terrific conversation!  Thank you to everyone who participated, facilitated, shared ideas, etc.  I’ve got some new things to try!”

  • Gather at the Virtual Table participant


Inspirational stories of librarians starting community fridges, StoryWalks, and much, much more

We want to thank numerous public librarians for sharing their inspirational stories with us this past month.

In Ashland, Ohio, the public library supported healthy living by hosting a Basic Survival Skills workshop. A library staff member with wilderness experience instructed the kids in the basics of shelter-building, fire-building, water, navigation, Leave No Trace, first-aid, gear, and food. The library partnered with our county park system to host the workshop at a local park.  The kids spent most of the day outside, moving, learning, and having fun! This was the first time the library hosted this workshop. The library received positive feedback from everyone who attended! Thanks to Mary Meixner from the library for sharing this story and photograph!

In fact, the June 2022 issue of Ohio Library News is PACKED with library activities supporting healthy active living, food literacy, and food distribution. How does your state or provincial library association celebrate how local libraries in your region support healthy living? Let us know!

In Floyd, Virginia, the public library recently started a community fridge initiative: called the Floyd Free Fridge. Joann Verostko, Branch Manager of the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library, Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library, recently shared the story of how and why this effort started on the blog of the Library of Virginia. Read the full story on their webpage. Lisa Thompson, Assistant branch manager, reports that their fridge arrived on Friday, June 24.

In Tyler, Minnesota, the public library started a StoryWalk®. Thanks to Mark Wilmes of the Tyler Tribute for sharing this story and photograph.

“Thanks to a grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation and the work of Tyler Librarian Shelly Finzen, area residents will have an opportunity read a good book and get a little exercise in the process. The program is called StoryWalk® and will soon make an appearance in Tyler.

“A StoryWalk is a great way for kids and adults to get outside and read together,” Finzen said. “It was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont. StoryWalks® have been installed in 50 states and 13 countries including Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea. Our StoryWalk will be a set of enclosed displays that will take readers along a path from the beginning to the end of a children’s picture book. When learning is paired with a physical activity, the skills stick better. This will be a fun and educational way for kids to build literacy and get some exercise and for families to spend time together.”

“In addition to the StoryWalk, Tyler Public Library will have an educational packet available for children that will go with the story of the month. The packet may include fun, family-friendly activities, games, puzzles or simply be a list of further reading. Families are encouraged to stop by for a packet to help understand how many people are using the StoryWalk. There will be a trail of 11 displays placed throughout Lions Club Park (Pool Park) and on the Tyler Municipal Pool building and grounds. The first display is located at the restroom building. A map will be in the first display and displays will be numbered to help readers follow the path. The route is about 0.25 miles long.

“Our target group is children in third grade and below, but everyone, regardless of age, will enjoy the stories,” Finzen said. “It will be a great opportunity for grandparents to walk with their grandchildren or babysitters with their charges, or older siblings and younger siblings to spend time together.”

“Finzen says StoryWalks have become popular in the world of libraries over the last several years. The concept was first introduced to this region in 2014. A temporary StoryWalk kit for “Moo!” by David LaRochelle was available for area libraries to share.

“I used the kit at the Lake Benton Public Library as part of Saddle Horse Holiday weekend and it was a hit,” Finzen recalled. “Last summer, I did a mini-StoryWalk of the book, ‘How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow’ by Monica Sweeney. I posted the pages of the book in local businesses down Tyler Street. That was also a popular event, which inspired me to consider how we could develop a permanent StoryWalk in the community.”

“Finzen applied for a “Grow Our Own” grant from SWIF, and was awarded $5000 for the project. Unfortunately, from the time the application was made and the awarded, the cost of the displays had nearly doubled.

“In addition to the cost of the displays, the grant was going to help cover the cost of the books (I need two copies of each book we use in the StoryWalk) and the additional cost of installation supplies, such as posts and gravel, etc.,” Finzen said. “With the increased cost of the displays, there isn’t enough to cover everything we planned for. Sponsors will help us bridge the gap, but it will also show a partnership between the public library and local businesses. We appreciate donations of any amount to this project. Sponsors who donate $100 or more will have their name added to an engraved plate that will be installed on the displays. All sponsors will be listed and posted in the StoryWalk.”
Finzen said she plans to change the displays about once a month.

“Other libraries in Plum Creek are also installing StoryWalks, so we hope to be able to share book pages amongst us. I also plan to reuse books in a 3-4 year cycle to make it sustainable. My plan is to change the displays monthly, all year around. We have some days in the deep winter months that are nice enough to get outside, so I want to make sure a new story is available to give people a reason to be outside on those days.”

“Finzen said that help from the City of Tyler made the project possible.

“I would like to thank Judd Guida and Scott Wilkison in the utilities department for their enthusiasm and help with this project. I would like to thank Stephanie LaBrune and the Tyler City Council for supporting my idea and letting me run with it. I would like to invite everyone to check out our StoryWalk.”

“Installation plans are currently scheduled for early June.”

Learn more and get started with this program at our StoryWalk® resource page.

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