The March 2022 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes information about:

  • An upcoming “Nature Programming” conversation
  • A webinar on “Checking Out Health and Wellness” and the Library of Things
  • How and why to join the Kids Garden Community
  • A funding opportunity from the AARP
  • StoryWalk resources and ideas
  • A Food & Libraries Symposium
  • And more!

This month’s featured image comes from Health Promotion Practice, the journal of the Society for Public Health Education. In February 2022, the journal published “Rural Libraries as Resources and Partners for Outside Active Play Streets” based on the results of a survey of the membership of the Association for Rural & Small Libraries conducted in September 2020. You can read the article online for free at this link.

To learn more about Play Streets and public libraries, check out this article in American Libraries, and to get started take a look at Rural Play Streets Guide: Implementing Play Streets in Rural Communities.

An upcoming “Nature Programming” conversation

Start your Spring by discussing how to integrate nature and the great outdoors into your programming! In this Community of Practice conversation, facilitated by Kasi Allen, Youth Services Librarian, Twin Falls (Idaho) Public Library, we invite you to join other librarians to exchange resources and ideas about how to most effectively support access to nature through public libraries.

The event takes place March 7, at 3 p.m. Eastern / 12 p.m Pacific. Register here.

More than 40 people joined our last Community of Practice conversation on this topic, led by Kelly Senser, Programming coordinator for Loudoun County Public Library, Virginia, in January 2022, and we anticipate another great dialogue. Check out some of the resources shared in the last Community of Practice conversation in our February newsletter.

What is a Community of Practice conversation?

This is a space for librarians and partners to gather together to share resources, inspiration, and advice around a particular topic. We know there is huge interest in taking library services outside, and connecting our communities to nature and nature-based learning. Let’s share what’s working, what’s not, and let’s grow together!

This event will not be recorded, so come to share openly with your colleagues!

About Kasi. She writes “I am a children’s librarian at the Twin Falls Public Library, and I have been in libraries for a little over 7 years. Before bumping into librarianship, I was an ELL preschool teacher in Chicago, Illinois. I’m professionally and personally super interested in science, especially science for and about pre-elementary kids. I’m also passionate about honoring inclusivity and diversity in my librarianship. Libraries are for everyone!”

A webinar on “Checking Out Health and Wellness” and the Library of Things

We are so excited for our next webinar! On March 16, 2022, at 12 -1 pm ET / 9-10 am PT, librarians from California, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, will share how and why they developed kits and collections focused on health and wellness.

We invite all to hear from librarians who developed kits and collections focused on health and wellness, including seeds, sensory kits, exercise equipment, brain health kits, blood pressure monitor kits, and more. Learn more about this idea and how you too can Check out Health and Wellness at the Library.

During the first half of this hour-long session, you’ll learn how public librarians across the United States developed kits and collections focused on health and wellness. Presenters will highlight how they developed their kits, how you got them out, what impacts they’ve seen, and a few logistical considerations.

During the second half of the session, we’ll open the floor to you! How does your library promote health and wellness through unique kits or collections? What barriers have you faced? What resources did you draw upon? How can we all work together to help you achieve success?

Presenters include:

Amy Easley (she/her) is a Librarian at the Ross-Broadway Branch Library of Denver Public Library in Colorado. She is part of a group working to create the Denver Public Library Seed Collective, DPLs seed library. She is passionate about food access and sovereignty for all people.

Kristen Hillman (she/her) is the branch manager at the Ridgeland Public Library in Ridgeland, MS and is also in charge of adult programming. She loves creating dynamic, fun programs for all ages and ability levels. Take-and-make kits as well as hands-on instruction have been very popular at her library, as new take-and-makes for adults and seniors go out weekly and the library offers a variety of instruction to patrons, including Cricut Design 101 and Cricut for Classrooms to help new educators learn how to use the Cricut to benefit their classroom. Advocating for traditionally underserved groups is another passion of Kristen’s, as Mississippi continues to rank among the lowest in having a qualified, certified teacher in every classroom.

Katie Friedericks (she/her) has been a Kids Services Librarian at Greenwood Public Library since April, 2020, where her primary role is in collection development. She serves on the board of a local autism nonprofit, Autism Community Connection, and has past experience working for Indiana’s Family to Family Health Information Center.

Katie Ball (she/her) is the Special Projects Associate at the Sacramento Public Library in Sacramento, California. In her role, she oversees Health Literacy, including exercise, mindfulness, and health education programs for all ages. She has developed numerous health kits for the library collection, including Brain Health Kits, Alzheimer’s Kits, and Blood Pressure Monitor Kits. The Sacramento Public Library also gave away hundreds of Family Health Kits, Senior Health Kits, and Mindfulness Kits throughout library closures.

Register here

How and why to join the Kids Garden Community

For almost 40 years, KidsGardening has served as a premier support provider for youth garden programs nationwide. During the past few years, a growing number of public librarians have joined this community, sharing their stories in the online Kids Garden Community, learning from their educational resources, and even receiving funding from their grant programs.
In 2020, the Watauga County Public Library, located in the Appalachian community of Boone, North Carolina, was one of 25 institutions across the country that received award packages to help start new or expand existing youth garden programs.
Judith Winecoff, Youth Services Librarian in Boone, shared with us her experience using this award to help start a youth garden program at her library in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, Judith, for sharing this story and these photographs!
“Our library was shut down during the prime months of starting a garden, the months of May and April, 2020. The youth garden club that I thought I was going to start did not happen in the way I thought it would. But when things get weird we get inventive.
A volunteer built and donated a Little Free Seed Library for the front lawn of the library. The seed donation from the KidsGardening grant was amazingly helpful because we were able to plant seeds and pot them for the Little Free Seed Library.

Free plants started by staff members and community members were also placed outside for community members to enjoy and plant. Sixty tomato and squash plants were put out for community use and over 769 seed bundles went out in the seed library with at least 4 seed packets in each bundle. Another volunteer with the financial aid of the Friends of Watauga County Public Library was able to put down a garden path walkway for easy access to the front lawn.

When others saw plants by the seed library they brought in their extra plants as well.
Due to the pandemic, we did not expand our library’s garden vastly, but we were able to maintain what we have established, and clean out a neglected area to plant sunflower seeds, lavender and catmint. The expanded garden size is roughly 30ft by 4 ft. While our library was closed we were fortunate to have a community member build a seed library that was placed at the front of the library with easy access for patrons to gain access to free seeds.

Often during my lunch, I would take 15 minutes to either water or weed and so many of our patrons would engage in conversation about the garden, birds at the feeder, butterflies and plant identification. We received so many positive comments it was hard to get a few chores accomplished, but it was also a delightful means to engage our patrons.

The garden grant also aided the library in Monarch care by providing plants and soil enhancements. The milkweed in the garden provides a lovely habitat for the caterpillars, and we had several butterflies to release this fall. We were able to continue to create a monarch habitat for the caterpillars. We also had a Downtown Boone Monarch scavenger hunt with factual information during the month of September with free milkweed seeds for a prize. The Kids Gardening grant greatly helped our library maintain our habitat.

This work relied on community volunteers and community partnerships. We had seed sorters and packers volunteer their time, and the Appalachian State University Sustainable Development students donated seeds for the seed library.

I was also very appreciative of the KidsGardening website, as many of the projects they featured were shared to the library’s Facebook page. The library also hosted several Take and Makes for families, including an Ugly shoe garden, fairy teacups gardens, and seed exploration kits. The library also participated in an outdoor event at the Daniel Boone Native Garden with about 100 people attending. During the closures, around the outside of the library a temporary StoryWalk was installed, with the book If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson featured.”

How can you get connected with KidsGardening?

The Kids Gardening Community is a free, open online community that anyone can join. It’s a great space to join to get connected with others across the country working to support youth gardening, including other librarians!
The KidsGardening website is also full of great resources, including program models, curriculum guides, and funding opportunities.

How can KidsGardening help you?

The staff at KidsGardening have noticed that more and more public librarians are connecting with them. They’d love to know how they can help you!

Finally, if you have a minute, please consider filling out this one page, two question survey.

We’ll share the results with KidsGardening and also in our April 2022 newsletter.

A time sensitive funding opportunity from the AARP

U.S. public libraries are invited to apply for the 2022 AARP Community Challenge grant program!

Learn more at the AARP webpage and get your funding application in by the March 22, 2022 deadline!

Last year 13 public libraries from across the United States won this award, using the grant to fund everything from Intergenerational Music Playgrounds to outdoor seating.

The AARP Community Challenge program provides “small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages.”

Looking for more inspiration? Check out this amazing video on how the public library in the small town of Avoca, Iowa, used this grant in 2018 to create an outdoor musical garden in the heart of downtown Avoca.

StoryWalk® Resources and Ideas

Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Let’s Move in Libraries has been committed to helping librarians interested in starting or extending their StoryWalk® programming.

We want to share some new resources we recently learned about!

April is National Poetry Month in the United States, and that makes it the perfect time for PoetryWalk!

Check out how Oshkosh Public Library in Wisconsin is doing this program, and see if you could try this in your community!

The non-profit America Walks recently announced their 2021 Community Change Grantees. These included Altoona Public Library in small town Kansas, which will be using the funds for a StoryWalk. The library wrote in the press release “This means so much to me and our community. We are in the process of putting in a StoryWalk and this grant money will help with the sensory sidewalk to go along with it.”

Be on the look out for the next call for applicants to this national program!

We also want to thank publisher NorthSouth Books for sharing this information on how you can supplement StoryWalks featuring their titles.

“30 years after its initial release, The Rainbow Fish is still an internationally beloved bestseller and story time favorite. NorthSouth Books invites you and your organization to celebrate this anniversary with us.

With his iridescent scales, the rainbow fish is the most beautiful fish in the whole ocean. At first the other fish admire him, but soon his vanity and pride drive them away. Through the advice of the wise octopus, he realizes that you can’t win friends through beauty. When he shares his glittering scales with the other fish, he discovers the immense joy that comes with sharing. The Rainbow Fish is known worldwide for its universal message of sharing and is now available in eleven languages.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Rainbow Fish NorthSouth Books invites interested parties to use The Rainbow Fish in their StoryWalks and library events. You can reserve a rainbow fish costume for use at your event, with the rental fee covered by NorthSouth. NorthSouth Books can also provide free promotional materials including stickers and posters. Please contact us at for additional information pertaining to the 30thanniversary!

NorthSouth Books website.

Reserve The Rainbow Fish costume here.

Contact NorthSouth Books for free promotional goodies here.

Free educational resources here.

Stay up-to-date with everything NorthSouth Books including special details for the 30th anniversary on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.”

A Food & Libraries Sympsoium

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

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

This event builds upon a series of informal, online conversations among a group of librarians and library partners interested in and working on this topic, including Let’s Move in Libraries.

The title of this event is 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 helped bring us all together!

We now want to invite you to join the conversation! The 3.5 hour event takes place on Thursday, May 12, beginning at 12 pm ET / 9 am PT.

After an orienting large group conversation with a brief keynote address from Sarah Anderson, Heritage Diets Curriculum Coordinator of Oldways, we will move into break-out rooms in which you’ll have the opportunity to converse with your colleagues about topics of interest at your library.

Learn more and sign up for this free event at this link. Share this widely! All are welcome to Gather at the Virtual Table for this important event!

Additional News

On February 24, 2022, Let’s Move in Libraries sponsored How to introduce your community to new healthy habits, featuring Erin Schmändt, library director of Michigan’s Caro Area District Library. We had a great conversation with 40 participants!

The webinar recording and the slides are now available online.

We can’t recommend this resource highly enough! Erin’s story is an inspiring example of how public librarians can get involved in promoting community health.

On March 8, Infopeople offers a free webinar on Using Neighborhood Science to Engage Your Community. You don’t want to miss this!! Los Angeles Public Library’s team has been at the forefront of using neighborhood science to spark community learning about the environment, nature, ecology, and science. The webinar description states “The first step to a sustainable environment is recognizing that environmental issues are not an abstract concept; they are all around us, endangering our health and wellbeing.” Sign up!

On February 22, Noah Lenstra published Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation on WebJunction. This blog post features a new report on Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation published by Healthy Places by Design, and the lessons from that report for public libraries. Check it out!

The non-profit Neighborhood Forest invites you to “consider becoming a Neighborhood Forest Coordinator and register your school, library, youth group, or organization!” Libraries in Michigan, Maine, and Ohio have already joined. Get free trees out to your community! Learn more at this link.

American Public Health Association’s Keep It Moving Challenge participants have already logged the equivalent of 122 million steps! You can help us get to 1 billion steps! To join the challenge, download the APHA Moving app available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and register. Follow the directions on the challenge webpage, and check out the leaderboard!

Cobb County, Georgia, library staffer Raymond Goslow started as a teen library volunteer about six years ago before joining the staff at 18. Raymond is now on the national stage: he finished second in the Jeopardy! National College Championship. In addition to being a library rock-star in the making, Raymond also helps out with the library’s food partnerships. This video released by the library features Raymond working alongside other library staff members and community partners for a Drive-Thru Food Pantry at the library. Way to go, Raymond!!!

Was this newsletter forwarded to you?

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 healthy living programs and partnerships involving public libraries. Also follow the project on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date. The Let’s Move in Libraries is an international initiative focused on supporting Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) through public library programs and partnerships.