Welcome to the April 2021 edition of the Let’s Move in Libraries newsletter. Here in the United States, April is National Poetry Month, so we’re starting this newsletter with exciting news from Massachusetts and North Carolina about unique library celebrations!

In Massachusetts, the Concord Free Public Library is celebrating a community-authored Poetry Walk! Here’s how it works: The front lawn of the library will become a Poetry Walk, featuring poems written by community members during March. Submitted poems will be featured in the Poetry Walk on the Main Library’s lawn as well as at a community farm run by Gaining Ground, a local non-profit. At the farm, community members will be able to read poems written by the community as they walk through a peaceful natural setting. Learn more about this partnership on the library’s Facebook page.

In North Carolina, the Charles H. Stone Memorial Library, in Pilot Mountain, is library is working to tie together literacy and movement during April 2021 with a wide range of poetry activities, including a “Poetry in Motion” Yoga program and a StoryWalk of Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds. Learn more here! Thanks to Diane Palmieri from the library for sharing this story!!

StoryWalk(R) Week!!!

We’re thrilled to share the news that Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services (ABOS) and Let’s Move in Libraries are teaming up for StoryWalk(R) Week! This inaugural annual celebration of all things reading outside – Story Walk, Story Stroll, Story Path, Poetry Walk – will occur November 15-19, 2021.
Keep an eye out for more to come! In future newsletters we’ll be calling on YOU to share your story so we can celebrate it during this celebration.
Learn more about the StoryWalk(R) program.

Innovations in small town librarianship in Canada

Although we are based in the United States, Let’s Move in Libraries aspires to be international in scope. As such, we are thrilled to share that two Canadian public librarians reached out to last month to share their stories.

In the small town of Nipigon, located in the Thunder Bay District of Northwestern Ontario, the public library has teamed up with its town’s recreation department for a wide range of programs during COVID-19, including everything from community scavenger hunts and SNOWga (Snow Yoga). Learn more in the story: Winter and Spring Recreation with the Library.

In the small town of Penhold in Central Alberta, the library utilized outdoor spaces to continue engaging its community safely during the pandemic. They did outdoor storytimes for children and families, and a walking club for adults. Learn more in the story: Passionate about the Community!

Share your Summer story!

We know Summer at the library in 2021 will be unprecedented. What are you planning? Let us know! We’d love to share your story!

Here are some of the things members of our advisory board are up to:

“I have been trying to figure out a way to advertise all the Storywalks (and like) around the state” to make it easier for people to discover them.

“My library is partnering with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) again to be a drop site for members (pick up your produce box at the library), I’m pretty sure other libraries do this too. It is an easy partnership!”

Another advisory board member shared “I love the idea of talking about CSAs! It’s such a great way to get super fresh, local, high quality produce. It’s especially nice to pay a flat fee, what with the rising costs of food right now. My library isn’t a drop site, but we did interview a local farmer (whose CSA I joined) for a podcast a few years ago.”

“Our Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners group does a seed swap every year, and of course, COVID has required that they distribute seeds differently. They packaged up groupings of 5 packs of seeds and sent them to all our Anne Arundel County (Maryland) Public Library branches to distribute to the community in any way we saw fit. At my branch, the Crofton Community Library, we took the seed packets and put them in a paper bag along with a seed-starting brochure that I wrote up, and 5 plant plastic plant pots and made a kit. We called the kit it Blind Date with a Plant,’ since they would have no way to know which types of seeds they were getting.”

“The library is partnering with the VCE Master Gardeners to present a virtual seed-saving program on April 1 (link). Take-and-make kits featuring seeds, planting pot, and growing instructions/tips will be available for in-branch/curbside pickup starting on that date. System-wide in the summer, we are offering Park-to-Library Scavenger Hunts at local parks and other green spaces. I suspect StoryWalks will remain popular too!”

Healthy Living for All requires Safe Communities for All: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). This month is dedicated to raising awareness about all types of sexual violence.To increase awareness around SAAM, libraries are in a position to offer unique and tailored support.

From creating booklists or book displays (check out this list by SarahLovesBooks at CPL and Penguin Teen for examples) to providing resources (such as the RAINN helpline or state and local resources). If you are interested in hosting an event around SAAM, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has an event guide ready to download. You can also find support for mental health resources on the NAMI website.
Thanks to Danielle Fortin for putting together this statement!
Free resources for healthy living at the library
We want to end this newsletter with a round-up of recently released free resources on healthy living at the library.
1) Webinar recording of OCLC/WebJunction’s Strengthening Communities: Food Access at Your Library
2) U.S. Play Coalition Twitter Chat on Play and Public Librarianship
3) Recording of BLOSSOM (Building Life-long Opportunities for Strength, Self-Care, Outlook, Morale, and Mindfulness) available online
4) Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board Members Michelle Bennett-Copeland and Christy Dyson speak at the U.S. Southeastern Library Conference on Let’s Move in Libraries
5) Let’s Move in Libraries director Noah Lenstra featured in Washington Post article “Why you should use the library as a valuable — free! — resource for cookbooks, kitchen tools and more.” Section on libraries as a safety net links to his article on food insecurity and public libraries.

About Let’s Move in Libraries!

In our June 2020 newsletter, we announced a permanent expansion in the scope of Let’s Move in Libraries. Our project was inspired by Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, which focused on supporting Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) among Americans.

Let us know if there are other innovative things you’re doing 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! Tag us on social media or email news directly through our website. You can also share your story using this structured form. We’d love to hear from you!

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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 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.