Welcome to the August 2018 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries. This edition highlights a) new research on physical activity in libraries, b) two new articles in School Library Journal on why we move in libraries, and c) a request for you to share with us waivers, policies, and procedures your library uses to protect itself from any liability related to movement-based programs.

Follow (and share with) Let’s Move in Libraries on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date with what public libraries do to get their communities moving.

New research on physical activity in libraries

On August 3, 2018, San Jose State University Professor Lili Luo published “Health information programming in public libraries: a content analysis,” in the research journal, Public Library Quarterly. She found that the second most common type of health programs offered during 2017 at San Jose Public Library were exercise classes focused on physical activities like yoga and dancing. Her research shows how public libraries tailor physical activity programs to the unique needs of their communities. For instance, she found that “one of the most frequently offered programs was Mexican Folkloric Dancing Class, which corresponds with the high percentage of Hispanic population in the community served by SJPL.”

The library also tries to get involved in regional health campaigns, such as efforts to encourage more bicycling. She writes that “SJPL not only engaged community partners in providing workshops, leading exercises and offering services at the library, but also actively participated as a partner in community-wide health initiatives such as supporting Bike to Work day in the Bay Area (the library invited people to pick up a free Bike to Work bag on that day, and encouraged the public to read more about bicycles and biking by noting relevant library resources in the program announcement).”

How do her findings compare to what your library does? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

School Library Journal highlights how we move

Rebecca T. Miller, the editor-in-chief of School Library Journal, wrote on July 24, 2018, that “Going to the children’s room just got a lot more fun at the Free Library of Philadelphia. There, the link between play and learning is being explored through inventive space design that encourages new levels of physical engagement …. Among the features is an indoor climbing wall. The colorful, 12′-high wall at Cecil B. Moore Library opened last December and has been a hit ever since. The design approach in each setting is unique, but each Play-and-Learn Space offers places to perch or nest, clamber about, and explore.”

Then, on August 9, 2018, Colorado high school librarians Annie Campbell and Michelyne Gray wrote in School Library Journal on how the Cherry Creek High School Library in Greenwood Village, supports “healthy lifestyle choices and build[s] more connections with our students” through, among other things, “a pedal-a-thon and lunchtime yoga” at the library. Campbell and Gray wrote that “Our library had installed an exercise bike with funds from our district foundation in 2015. We encourage students to use the bike to reduce stress. This year, we took it up a notch. Borrowing the idea of a Pedal-a-Thon from our colleagues at Eaglecrest High School Library in Centennial, CO, we held a cycling competition. Students were invited to use our exercise bike and DeskCycles during off periods while reading or studying in the library. Staff checked in participants and logged their daily mileage. The 79 participants rode nearly 1,200 miles in January. We rewarded the top three finishers with gift certificates to a sporting goods store …. [In addition] one of our school counselors, also a certified yoga instructor, led lunchtime yoga in our reading areas, with views of the Cherry Creek State Park.”

Does your library offer spaces that support physical play and physical activity, whether through climbing walls, stationary bikes, StoryWalks, or something else entirely? Let us know! We are seeking to better understand how libraries are transforming to support physical activity among all ages and abilities.

Share with us waivers, policies & procedures you use

As more and more libraries support physical activity through spaces, collections, and programs, growing pains inevitably occur. In particular, one common concern we hear is that libraries will be held legally liable if someone hurts themselves while engaging in library-supported physical activities. As far as we have been able to tell, this has never happened, but the concern is still important to address. We have been collecting waiver forms that libraries use for programs as heterogeneous as nerf capture the flag and yoga. We now need to hear from YOU!

This one page survey asks you to share with us what your library does to protect yourself from legal liability in case of any injury that may occur from engaging in physical activities in libraries or using equipment provided by libraries (i.e. hiking backpacks). The results will be shared in the September 2018 newsletter.

Please share this survey widely!

Upcoming Let’s Move in Libraries activities

In September, Let’s Move in Libraries will be on the road! We are thrilled to present a session on “Physical Activity Programs for Fun and for Health” at the annual meeting of the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, September 13-15 in Springfield, Illinois. If you’re attending please stop by and say hi!

Also in September, Let’s Move in Libraries is collaborating the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life Month campaign. September is Go4Life month in the United States. During that month, we will encourage older adults to (1) prepare to be more active, (2) get moving with 4 types of exercise, (3) stay on track with exercise and (4) make regular exercise a habit. What will your library do to support physical activity among older adults in September? Share with Go4Life and with us! Use this form to submit your pictures, videos and short descriptions of any Go4Life Month activities your library offers. Go4Life will then post them on our website, include them in its newsletter, and/or share them on social media. Let’s move in September!

News stories you may have missed

Follow (and share with) Let’s Move in Libraries on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date with what public libraries around the world do to get their communities moving. Tag us on these platforms to share what your libraries are doing!

In Hargeisa, Somalia, the National Library presented a program on tips on keeping fit and healthy, led by a personal trainer.

In Kuching, Malaysia, the local library holds community garden programs “to beautify the library as well as to promote a healthy lifestyle, healthy physical activities, and good mental health.”

In California, U.S. the Burlingame Public Library organized its annual open house around the theme of “Get Jazzed about Healthy Living.” Attendees came dressed in their silliest workout gear and engaged in dancing, yoga, karate, interval training, and more.

In New Brunswick, Canada, the Riverview Public Library launched its new Discovery Day Pack circulating collection. The library now checks out the hiking supplies you need for your next outdoor adventure.

Share with us your news! Tag us on social media and 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.