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

  • A recap of Gather at the Virtual Table: Community Conversations on Food and Librarianship
  • An inspirational example of outdoor public librarianship from Utah
  • How seed libraries spread across Southeast Kansas

This month’s featured image is of Sarah Anderson’s keynote address at “Gather at the Virtual Table: Community Conversations on Food and Librarianship” held May 12, 2022, online.

All were welcome to join this interactive event on how food and librarianship can (and do!) come together!

The event occurred May 12, 2022 and builds upon a series of informal, online conversations among a group of librarians and library partners interested in and working on this topic.

If you missed the live event, you can watch the event recording here.

We also encourage all to join the Facebook group created to continue the conversation on libraries and food started at this event, and also to use and search the hashtag #LibrariesAndFood on other social media platforms.

Although the breakout rooms were not recorded, members of the organizing team took notes and saved the chat – accessible in this google folder.
We are hoping to have a series of further conversations on this topic! Be on the lookout for future events taking place next Fall – if you’re interested in hosting a conversation let us know by filling out this form.
One of our organizers, Philip Lee of Readers to Eaters, also would LOVE to meet you in person at the upcoming American Library Association Conference this June, if you plan to attend. Email Philip to let him know you’ll be there.

More information about the event

The title of the event, Gather at the Virtual Table, was adapted from Hillary Dodge’s 2020 book Gather ‘Round the Table: Food Literacy Programs, Resources, and Ideas for Libraries, published by American Library Association Editions. Hillary was one of the organizers of this event, and we encourage all to check out her book!

The event began with a keynote speech by Sarah Anderson, who joined Oldways, A Food And Nutrition Nonprofit Helping People Live Healthier, Happier Lives, in 2020 as the Heritage Diets Curriculum Coordinator.

You can download Sarah’s powerpoint presentation here.
You can learn more about Oldways in these links:
Setting up your African Heritage Kitchen
A Taste of African Heritage Open House
Recommended Reading List

To stay updated with the Heritage programs of Oldways, you can join their Facebook group, Instagram page and sign up for the African Heritage and Health quarterly newsletter.

After the keynote address and first break-out rooms, participants joined The Charlie Cart Project and the Cuyahoga County Library for a cooking demonstration! They talk about food preservation, extending the life of your vegetables, and most importantly, how to launch food education classes at your library!

The event and the recording end with an open discussion about the Food & Libraries Census, a report back from break-out rooms (not recorded), and a discussion of how we can work together to better connect food and libraries.

Taking librarianship outside in Utah

Thanks to Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board Member Zella Jensen for sharing this story! Zella works at the public library in Eagle Mountain, Utah. 

Even with the limitations of COVID, we were able to gather 75 of our patrons to learn about an important part of nature and get some fresh air. A local park provided the perfect place for an educational, delicious and entertaining demonstration. Fun for all the senses!

Our successful outdoor library experience was with a local beekeeper. He taught us how bees live and described the process of how they produce honey. We got to learn about many types of bees and see honey panels from his beehives. The guest beekeeper also let our group come close and test out the semi-firm, sticky, squishy honeycomb with our fingers. Then he allowed us to try a taste of various types of honey that the bees in our area had created from pollen of a variety of flowers. The exciting nature experience didn’t end there as we also learned to move our bodies in an engaging dance pattern, mimicking the way bees communicate with fellow bees while gathering pollen they use to produce honey. Our instructor called the bee dance the “waggle dance”. The presentation was really informative, enjoyable and provided a great outdoor physical activity for everyone that attended. We all went away with more appreciation for the work and service of bees and beekeepers.

This activity invited our patrons to enjoy the outdoors at the park that day as well as consider future opportunities for beekeeping in their own backyards because we were taught how simple yet rewarding beekeeping can be as a hobby. We learned that children 12 and up can become beekeepers! Our State Extension service offers free training and supplies for local families to become beekeepers and enjoy the production of honey in their own backyard. Contact the State Extension Service in your area to find out if it is also available where you live.

How seed libraries spread across Southeast Kansas

Our thanks to Julie Kent, Director of the Erie City (Kansas) Public Library for sharing this story with us!

“Never underestimate the power of a planted seed.”

The Erie City Public Library has been fortunate to qualify for grants to improve their programs.  We received a grant from Neosho County to buy a greenhouse and start a seed library in November 2020. We used those seeds to plant tomatoes in the greenhouse so our community could grow food in their own gardens.  We shared 500+ tomato plants and seeds for these gardens.

This past summer, our local Walmart of Chanute donated $5000 seeds to the library.  Baker Creek of Mansfield, Missouri donated 1000 packages of seeds to our program.  Erie is a very small town and 2000 + packages of seeds would never be used.  The Erie City Public Library offered boxes of seeds to the small libraries in Southeast Kansas.  Thirteen of those libraries asked for the seeds so they were boxed up and sent by library courier to the libraries. We also shared seeds with a startup seed library in Nebraska, a library in Gadsden, Alabama and with BSBC Pathways programs in Labette and Montgomery County, Kansas to re-start the Community Garden in Parsons.  We still have about 6 plastic tubs of seeds to give to our community for gardens here.

As we gave these seeds to local libraries who were new to the Seed Library concept, Southeast Kansas Library System started a Zoom interest group which meets monthly to share ideas and plans for the Seed Libraries they are starting.  We meet with Sharon Moreland and Amy Eiben from Southeast Kansas Library System and share our success stories as well as our programs. Since that time, we have gotten questions from libraries all over the state of Kansas inquiring on the policies we use for the library.

Of course, The Erie City Public Library is expanding their programs to include gardening and planting salad greens and herbs to use in our Summer Cooking for Kids Program.  All of these were made possible from the seed library packets.  This Spring we gave away 500 + tomato plants to go into family gardens in our community.

The amazing thing about all of this is – We started with $50 in seeds and it has grown to more than 13 libraries offering seeds and programs to benefit Southeast Kansas.  “Keep planting seeds, you never know what may take the root.”

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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 movement-based programs and services in public libraries. Also follow the project on Facebook, Instagram, 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 physical activity.