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

  • A 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 from Georgia and Maine

This month’s featured image comes from KidsGardening. They reached out to us to ask our help to help spread the word on a time-sensitive funding opportunity, which is why this month’s newsletter is coming out a few days early.

KidsGardening and Wyman’s are partnering on a contest to award $200 to 35 programs to start or expand pollinator gardens.

The contest asks for kids to tell them about their dream pollinator garden and then for adults to tell us how they would use the $200 in their program. The deadline is Friday, June 30th.

We know it’s short notice – and right in the middle of summer reading – but it’s an easy contest and they really want public libraries to apply!

If you have kids at your library this week, ask them to create something about their dream pollinator garden at the library, and then submit it. It’s that easy!

The prize money can be used to plant a new pollinator garden or expand an existing pollinator garden.

Learn more and apply now!

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

We are thrilled to share that we’ve already received nominations from six 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’ve already received:

  • “The pastor of a local church reached out to me last October asking if we would be interested in co-sponsoring a Banned Book Discussion. What we did in the beginning was present a list to the participants of the top 100 books banned or challenged from the ALA website. The participants looked at titles and made a list of books that they wanted to read and discuss. We meet each month and the participants have grown over the months and we have people from neighboring communities joining us.”
  • “The Executive Director [of the partnering organization] is a library patron and she has frequently provided financial support for the library. The partner has under written summer reading programs and they invite us each year to have a voice and a vote in designing Playstreets, a community building activity that takes place over six weeks in the summer. The biggest contribution to the library has been their search and discovery of $985,000 in state and federal funding to support the expansion and renovation of the existing library. These funds will allow us to complete the project and, most important, to make sure there is a working elevator in the renewed library. Partnering with this partner has been a pleasure due to their commitment to share the word about library services and how it impacts the community at large.”
  • “A small private heritage farm reached out and asked the library if we would like to have storytime series on the farm. They are very welcoming, providing chairs, blankets, and water. They allow the kids to walk through the farm to visit the animals. They also provide dried mealworms in individual cups so the children can experience feeding the chickens. The families love being outside, walking, and seeing the animals. The families also learn some facts about the animals and where certain foods come from. Mama Farm raises endangered breeds of chickens, goats and sheep, as well as planting heritage seeds. They also have a dog that will give birth to puppies who will be trained as guide dogs. The families love the experience.”
  • “Limited space is a major dilemma at our library. Our partner graciously leaves an area in a local restaurant for our books so children, teens, and adults can grab a read while they wait for their food. We are excited to have many events and collaborations in the works for the future. We are beyond grateful not only for the space, but for their assistance with events as well going above and beyond to ensure each event is memorable and we are able to share our love of books and reading to as many as possible.”
  • “[Partner] delivered bulk snacks to each library in the library district. This is extremely noteworthy because the library district is a logistical challenge. It is a 110 mile drive one-way from the partner’s location to the furthest library in the library district. The partner is so dedicated to feeding hungry children that they stressed their own resources to give food to public libraries for summer distribution. The partner’s van drivers are volunteers who are excited to empty the van’s contents into each library–they even help carry it all in with a big smile! This is an organization run by people and volunteers who truly, truly, want to help get food to children in any way they can–even if they have to traverse hundreds of miles into some of the most poor and rural communities to do it. We are grateful to have a community partner who shares our mission and we recognize their herculean efforts in assisting the library district battle food insecurity in children during the summer months.”

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 JULY 19. 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!

Inspiring stories from Georgia and Maine

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

In Fayette County, Georgia, “Fayette County Public Library’s Partnerships for Health and Wellness” were recently featured on the Georgia Library Association newsletter.

a shelf of books decorated with birdhouses, a basket with flowers, and a metal bird
Elevate Farms logo

Elevate Farms is a partner of Fayette County Public Library (FCPL). A seed library was created by Elevated Farms (Kay Mance) to support library patrons and Fayette County citizens’ health and wellness. At Fayette County Public Library, we seek to educate the community through literacy, arts and culture, and community engagement. The library, in partnership with Elevate Farms, launched a Community Seed Library. This initiative provides an opportunity for citizens to take garden seeds from the designated seed catalog at the library while donating seeds in return. “Take One, Bring One” is the concept. The Seed Library began Thursday, June 1, and is open during library hours each week.

In Maine, librarians from Maine and New Hampshire recently presented on the Let’s Move in Libraries initiative at the Maine Library Association conference. A representative from one of the major Large Print Publishers (Thorndike Press) was in attendance and did a lovely write up of the presentation and shared this with their customers which really extended the audience. That write-up was as follows:

“I hope this email finds you in high spirits. As an enthusiastic supporter of libraries and the joy of reading, I wanted to reach out to you following my attendance at the Maine Library Association Conference. The event was an incredible experience, featuring a captivating session titled “Let’s Move in Libraries,” led by esteemed presenters Lisa Joyce, Deborah Dutcher, and Kayleigh Thomas.

I am thrilled to share with you the knowledge and inspiration I gained from this session. The discussions revolved around increasing engagement with both youth and adults, and I am genuinely excited to explore how we can bring these ideas to life in your library. Together, we can create an environment that promotes joy, love, and a lifelong passion for reading within your community.

I invite you to meet with me to discuss your unique community and library, and how we can collaborate to implement the strategies discussed at the conference. By understanding your specific needs and challenges, we can tailor our approach to ensure maximum impact. Let’s work together to design engaging programs and initiatives that will captivate patrons of all ages.

In addition to the valuable insights shared during the session, I wanted to highlight a couple of websites that can provide you with further ideas and resources. The website Let’s Move in Libraries offers inspiration for events at your library and guidance on getting started. Furthermore, Agency on Aging Area 4 is an excellent resource for funding ideas and additional resources.

During the session, various programs were discussed, including Tai Chi for Health and Balance, Story Walks, exercise programs, cooking classes, and the circulation of bags for yoga, Zumba, and other wellness activities. I encourage you to check in with local banks, community organizations, and businesses to explore potential sponsorships for events at your library. Remember, they cannot say yes if you don’t ask!”

Thanks to the librarians who shared their stories this month! Share your story to be featured in a future newsletter and on our website!

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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.