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

  • A recap of our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library event
  • An update on our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation series
  • Inspiring stories from Arizona, Illinois, and North Carolina
  • Upcoming Let’s Move in Libraries conference sessions
  • Moving More: A Novel Approach for Book Lovers

This month’s featured image is from the announcement of our new “I Partner with My Public Library Award.” We are officially launching this new initiative on the heels of the success of our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library event that took place across the month of April 2023 (see below).

We will be officially calling for submissions for this new award in our June 2023 newsletter, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek.

Here is who this award is for: This award is for organizations or individuals who make a difference in the community by collaborating with public libraries. We all know that teamwork makes the dream work. We also know that public libraries and public library workers are often overlooked as critical community partners.

So this award serves to shine a light on those making a difference by teaming up with public libraries.

Who are your closest partners? These are the individuals and institutions we want YOU to nominate for this award.

More information coming in June. Stay tuned for more and contact us to share your feedback.

A recap of our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library event

We want to thank the 12 public library workers who shared their experiences in our first Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library online event, held during Thursday’s across the month of April, 2023. 360 individuals signed up for the event and every conversation had between 50 and 120 active participants.

Across the four weeks, 182 individuals participated for at least 10 minutes, including 18 who came all four weeks, 30 who came three weeks, and 39 who came two weeks, for a total of 87 people who participated across multiple weeks.

Watch every session recording at the event webpage and on our YouTube channel.

We invite you to continue the conversation online in our event padlet and by using the hashtag #RelationshipLibrary across social media platforms.

In addition to lively conversations on how and why public library workers forge, sustain, and leverage community relationships, this event also featured the official launch of our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library toolkit, freely available online as a website and as a downloadable PDF.

We’ll be asking for feedback on this toolkit in future newsletters. For now, if you participated in this event, watched the recordings, or took a look at the toolkit, we’d love your feedback. Contact us to share your thoughts.

This event was part of HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) at the Library, funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services (# RE-246336-OLS-20)

An update on our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation series

Want to continue the conversation? Join us in our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation series.

Beginning in February 2023, we started hosting monthly one-hour Birds of a Feather online conversation. The next event will be May 17.

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!

During our April call we had a lively conversation around a range of topics, including preventing burnout while supporting your community, working collaboratively with others to share the load, and we had a long focus on healthy aging and libraries. Here are some of the resources shared:

Outdoor musical instruments at the library

A Matter of Balance – a national program that always has a waiting list at some libraries where it is offered in collaboration with Area Agencies on Aging

Encore Cafe returns to Marion Public Library for older adults

Intergenerational “play” is a great way for 55+ folks to stay active and to stay well. Active for Life is a great place to find ideas to inspire intergenerational activities like this scavenger hunts and physical literacy and grandparentsAmeriCorps: Senior Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP)

Inspiring stories from Arizona, Illinois, and North Carolina

We want to thank librarians from the Coolidge Public Library in Arizona, High Point Public Library and Randolph County Public Library in North Carolina, and Camargo Township District Library in Illinois, for sharing the following inspires stories. Share your story to be featured in a future newsletter and on our website!

In Coolidge, Arizona, “Coolidge Public Library supports healthy living with a vibrant collection of materials. Items include cookbooks, medical resources, and information about alternative healthcare options. The library also offers exercise DVDs and digital resources through Hoopla and cloudLibrary. The library regularly offers classes on gardening and healthy eating in partnership with the University of AZ Cooperative Extension. The library has just introduced hiking backpacks for circulation. Hopefully, patrons will report back on the hikes they enjoyed so staff can share their ideas with other patrons.”

In High Point, North Carolina, “the High Point Public Library’s children’s department supports healthy living in children through many different avenues. Weekly at the library, we host yoga programs for both pre-K and school-aged kids. We also have physical literacy take home kits that allow kids to check out sports equipment to be active at home. Around our building, we have a StoryWalk™ that gets changed monthly, encouraging reading and physical literacy.

Last summer, we partnered with the Farmers Market to start a local Power of Produce (PoP) club. This allows children to receive tokens which they can use at different vendors to buy fruits and vegetables. With $3 worth of tokens each week, kids have the opportunity to practice healthy eating habits using their own agency and also learn financial literacy. This winter, the PoP club went “mobile” becoming an option at our neighborhood Bookmobile stops. We have been partnering with Growing High Point’s, mobile market Growdega, from the dawn of these neighborhood stops. Growing High Point has urban farms throughout the city, and they work to combat food insecurity. In these neighborhoods, we’ve found they may also lack access to the library’s resource. We provide books and information about the library, and now promote health literacy in a more direct way with the Power of Produce Club.

The physical literacy kits get checked out on a consistent basis. We have a regular crew for yoga. It’s great to see a weekly commitment to activity! The PoP club at the Farmer’s Market was a huge success with 200 participants who used the program 711 times. One parent, who is also a dietician, said the program “encourages my kids to try new fruits and vegetables and appreciate the farmers that grow them.” Another parent mentions the financial literacy aspect as “[her daughter] enjoys using [the tokens] and saving them.” The PoP club was received as both educational and fun especially when the crafts were centered around fruits and veggies.

The mobile PoP club is growing as the weather gets warmer. This program has 50 kids participating, which is about 75% of the kids we see biweekly. The kids enjoy the opportunity to have a couple of apples, bananas, or oranges as snacks; some even choose lemons! We’ve had food cooking demos a couple of times with a local org, Live Better High Point which focuses on healthy lifestyles within the next generation. The most popular demo was Korean Green Beans. Some kids kept coming back for seconds.”

In Asheboro, North Carolina, “the Asheboro Library Children’s Learning Garden was created to facilitate hands-on nature education for children and families (especially for patrons who do not have yards or garden space), as well as provide an outdoor reading and learning space for the library.

A statement from the creator, Ms. Becky: “I have long believed in the benefits of hands-on nature education for children, and that passion has only increased in recent years. It’s hard to care about something you don’t have a relationship with, so my hope is that the more children learn and feel connected to the natural world, the more they will want to care for it. Outdoor learning areas are on the rise in both schools and libraries because educators now realize that nature play and exploration facilitate the brain development needed for early literacy.”

“Special thanks go to: Gold Hill Mulch for the generous rock and mulch donation, Mellow Marsh Farm sold the native plants to us at wholesale costs
Lowe’s also provided a discount for other plants, and multiple Garden Volunteers.”

In Villa Grove, Illinois, “the March get moving in libraries event had a bubble wrap dance party. We asked people several months ago to donate bubble wrap, we did purchase some as we felt we didn’t have enough. I have shared a video so you can see how fun it was. We do try to do a movement activity every month. We got inspired from an Association for Rural & Small Libraries conference several years ago to add ‘Get up and move’ to our story time fun. We had about 30 kids join in the fun. We read Pirates Don’t Dance by Shawna Tenney.”

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

Upcoming Let’s Move in Libraries conference sessions

Thanks to the active leadership of our Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board, there will be in-person Let’s Move in Libraries conference sessions this May at the Maine Library Association annual conference and also at the Connecticut Library Association Conference.

On Monday, May 1, 2023, at 2:35 p.m. Eastern, you can join Tara Borden and Marie Letarte for a session at the Connecticut Library Association Conference on ‘Finding Your Partners and Places with ‘Let’s Move in Libraries.’ They invite you to “come learn how to hold programs that inspire movement and health in a time when both library staff and patrons are feeling discouraged.

Then a few weeks later, on Monday, May 22, at 2 pm Eastern, you are invited to join Maine librarians for “Let’s Move in Libraries, Northeast Region.”

We are thrilled to see more and more librarians take Let’s Move in Libraries to their regional and state conferences! Did you know that you can too?

Contact us to learn how!

Moving More: A Novel Approach for Book Lovers

We want to thank Propriometrics Press for sharing this invitation with us!

On May 16, 2023, book lovers — readers, writers, editors, librarians —  are invited to join in an online conversation about how we can all move our bodies more. This event is loosely timed to the release of Katy’s new book, Rethink Your Position, but the event will be more of a conversation rather than a typical book launch.

Moving More: A Novel Approach for Book Lovers
A conversation with Katy Bowman and Sarah Selecky

Readers and writers tend to be excellent sitters! We equate immersion in a good book with leaving the physical body behind. We’ve come to think of sitting in a comfortable chair as a default position.

We don’t think about training our bodies to read, or about tending our often stationary, book-loving bodies. But perhaps we should! And writing presents its own set of challenges. Ask a physical therapist sometime how many of their clients are writers!

So how can we move our bodies well, so that we can read more/better/longer? What do we do when our bodies hurt, and our favorite hobby—and often our livelihood—is mostly sedentary?

This conversation between two book lovers will explore just that: training your body when reading and/or writing is your sport. From redefining healthy movement to walking book clubs to finding ways to read and stretch at the same time–if you’re someone who loves books and suspects you should be moving more, this conversation is for you!

Sarah Selecky has been a writer since she was five years old. Her collection of short stories, This Cake Is for the Party, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Caribbean and was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. Her novel, Radiant Shimmering Light, has been optioned for a premium one-hour television series. In 2011, she created the Sarah Selecky Writing School, now a creative community of over 10,000 writers from around the world.

Katy Bowman is a lifelong book person, whose personal journey is an evolution from book nerd to biomechanist and movement teacher/enthusiast who still loves books. And, in fact, Katy has written nine of them—all about movement for non-movers—including the acclaimed Move Your DNA and the forthcoming Rethink Your Position.

Learn more and sign up here! All are welcome. Share widely.

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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 FacebookInstagram, YouTube, 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.