Welcome to the March 2020 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries. During each of the past four months, we’ve featured a different program idea, including music and movement, hands-on gardening, chair-based exercises, and StoryWalk(R). This month we call on you to tell us what programs you want to see featured in future months! Fill out this two-question survey by April 3, 2020: The program ideas with the most votes will be featured in future newsletters.

Click here to start the survey. What do you want help with? Bicycling programs? Active play programs? Games like NERF capture the flag? Starting a walking book club? Something else? Fill out the survey and let us know. Your voice matters! Thank you for being part of this initiative.

Let’s Move in Libraries Free Learning Opportunities

So much has been happening this Spring! Here’s a quick run-down of the most important news and free learning opportunities:

On February 12, we released the report Geri-Fit® at the Library: Studying Small and Rural Public Libraries as Venues for Active Living Among Older Adults. This report includes the results a project that took place in Spring 2019 in which 535 older adults participated in a 12 week exercise program at 49 small and rural public libraries spread across 17 U.S. states. We found that Geri-Fit® at the library supports healthy aging across mind and body, including improved strength, well-being, feeling more active and balanced, and also feeling better connected to one’s community. We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this project, and we’d love your feedback! Take a look at the report and please share it widely with your colleagues. Click here to access the report.

Healthy Living at the Library: Now available!

On Wednesday March 25 at 2:00 pm US Eastern, we will be leading a free webinar through the Niche Academy on Healthy Living at the Library. Sign up to learn more about how we can all get healthy, together! Learn how you can support healthy living among both library staff and library patrons through new programs, spaces, and collections developed through community partnerships. More and more libraries support healthy living through everything from free summer meals to cooking classes to library gardens to yoga classes and even by checking out non-traditional items like bicycles and hiking backpacks. These things emerge from library staff passionate about healthy living, whose health is supported by library administration, and who have the tools and time to build and sustain community partnerships. Get the information and inspiration you need to make healthy living happen at your library! Sign up here.

This webinar is based on the book Healthy Living at the Library, written by Noah Lenstra, which is available for pre-order NOW!

On April 8 at 11:00 am US Eastern, we will lead a free webinar through the Nebraska Library Commission’s NCompass Live on How to Add Movement to Library Programming. We will focus on easy techniques you can use to add movement to programs for all ages. From a mini dance party between stories to instance recess for adults, regular ten minute activity breaks have been identified by researchers and policy makers as effective ways to advance public health. Get the information and inspiration you need to weave physical activity into your library in all kinds of ways! Sign up here.

On April 15 at 2:00 pm US Eastern, we will be participating in a free webinar organized by non-profit America Walks on Unusual Bedfellows- Expanding and Developing New and Different Partnerships. We will join the CEO of American Forests and the Assistant Director for Parking Services in Columbus, Ohio, to talk about how and why more organizations (including public libraries!!) can get involved in the movement to support walkable communities for all. Attendees of this webinar will: Learn new and different ideas for partnerships to create walkable communities, Give examples of creative strategies to promote safe/ walkable spaces, and Discuss new ways to engage the community around walkability. Sign up here.

We’re also spreading the word in face-to-face conferences. On April 16, Danielle Fortin, McArthur Public Library and Heidi Whelan, Baxter Memorial Library, will present “I Like to Move It, Move It! Let’s Move in Libraries” at the 31st Annual Reading Round Up Conference sponsored by the Maine State Library. Here’s the program description: “Let’s Move in Libraries is an international initiative designed to create healthy communities by inspiring movement-based activities in all ages and abilities. Public libraries can positively impact health through Storywalks, Yoga classes, the circulation of non-traditional materials, and more. Join Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board members Danielle Fortin and Heidi Whelan as they share their experiences incorporating the Let’s Move initiative into their libraries.” Learn more and sign up here!

Let’s Move in Libraries in the News

The members of our advisory group and of the broader Let’s Move in Libraries community have also been super active spreading the word. Here’s a run-down of recent news.
Did you know our logo is free to use? It’s true! We just ask that you share back what you do with it. We want to thank Peoria Public Library in Illinois for being the latest library to use the logo in its advertising. Thank you! Learn more about the library’s Bookin’ It Walking Club on their website.
On February 27, library director, yoga instructor, and author Jenn Carson presented Taking Care of Us: Inreach for Library Staff for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine webinar series. She shared how physical literacy is not just for patrons, it’s for all of us! Check out the recording to get inspired!

If you missed this opportunity, Jenn is presenting online again on April 23, this time through SirsiDynix, on how to Feel Good, Do Good: How Offering Physical Literacy Programs at your Library Can Change Your Community. She will cover: Her triumphs and challenges getting these programs off the ground, a few self-care tips when implementing these programs, and How you can take these principles and create a new physical literacy program in your library. Sign up here!

On February 28, Janet Reynolds, Librarian, Library District #2 of Linn County, LaCygne, KS (Population served: 2,400) presented at the Nebraska Library Commission’s annual online conference, Big Talk From Small Libraries, on “Fitness, Food, & Fun with Seniors (citizens that is)!” From the program description: “Thanks to a comment by Dr. Noah Lenstra, I found out about the Geri-Fit program pilot and we joined that. Now we were programming three days a week. We’ll talk about all of that and more during our time together on Big Talk Hope you can join us and get some good ideas!” Her presentation was recorded and will be publicly available on the Big Talk from Small Libraries website very soon.
On Monday, April 13, the Library of Michigan’s Loleta Fyan Small and Rural Libraries Conference will feature the session “How Fitness and Healthy Living Programs Lead the Way to Healthy Communities.” P.J. Smith and Hope Siasoco of Pinckney Community Public Library will share “how offering fitness programs, such as weekly Yoga, Boot Camp with Babies, Fit Club and Cardio Drumming Classes, along with a variety of other “non-traditional library programs” centered on healthy living, such as the Project Play: Sport Port initiative, Mindfulness Meditation, Essential Oils, and Benefits of Herbal Teas, has opened the library to unexpected partnerships that brought “unlikely” users into the building and turned them into dedicated and supportive patrons. (Yes,
there will be an exercise involved.)” We wish we could be there to attend!!! Learn more on the Library of Michigan’s website.
On Monday, April 27, the Connecticut Library Association’s annual conference will feature the session “Moving More in Libraries.” Librarians Christy Billings,  Tara Borden, Laura Larsen, and Heidi Sacchitella will share how “four library staff members created programs to help patrons move in libraries. Tara Borden will speak about creating an 8-week Couch to 5K Program. Zumba combines Latin rhythms, dance moves and core work. Laura Larsen will explain how to become a Zumba instructor. Christy Billings will talk about creating two programs where book discussions and the outdoors came together as a natural fit; Book Talk With a Walk, and Book Yak with a Kayak. Heidi Sacchitella will speak about the process of Line Dancing in libraries. Come learn how to help your patrons move more in libraries!” It sounds like an amazing program! Learn more on the Connecticut Library Association’s website.
Did we miss anything in this news alert? Let us know if there are other learning opportunities taking place that we haven’t featured! We want to shine a light on all the ways librarians are getting the word out on the power of movement and healthy living in library programming. You are always invited to reach out and share with us. Please also reminder to share with us any news on programs you may be offering. We always love hearing from you!

Join our community!

During the October 2019 meetings of our Advisory Groups, we decided to re-launch our online group on Facebook. We invite you to join the 100+ librarians already in the group. This is YOUR SPACE to ask questions, get advice, share successes and challenges, and generally get the support you need to make a difference in your community.

Consider joining us, and if you have a question about chair-based, StoryWalk(r), or gardening, or any other program that includes movement and physical activity, go ahead and ask it in this group!


We’d like to hear, and share, how you move in your library!! Tag us on social media or email news directly through our website. We’d love to hear from you!

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Subscribe to the monthly 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. 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.