December 2020 NEWSLETTER

Welcome to the December 2020 edition of the Let’s Move in Libraries newsletter. This month we highlight:

  • How libraries can promote safe outdoor experiences during Winter
  • A request to share your experiences working to make our streets safer for all people
  • An award opportunity from the US National Association of Counties (NACo)
  • Let’s Move in Libraries advisory board member featured on Health.Gov

This month’s featured image comes from Mayerthorpe Public Library in Alberta, which proclaims ‘Tis the Season to be Readin’ in their new Christmas StoryWalk(R). The pages are found in the windows of local shops. Learn more on their website. Learn more about downtown StoryWalk(R) partnerships in our article Take a StoryWalk Through Downtown with the Library and get started with this program at our StoryWalk Program Page.

Did you know that libraries can and do promote safe, fun, healthy outdoor experiences all Winter long? It’s true! To share information and inspiration on this topic, we are joining the Colorado State Library and the Iowa State Library on Thursday, December 10, at 12 p.m. Mountain Time, for a free webinar. Registration is notrequired. Just join us next Thursday for this free, fun, interactive webinar, held in Adobe Connect. Here’s the details. We hope to “see” you there!

‘Tis the season for outdoor programs (really?)

  • Are you running out of ideas for online programming?
  • Is your public tired of virtual events?
  • Cooped up inside, we’re missing the restorative powers of the great outdoors!

Join us for a lively, interactive session that will not only discuss the benefits of outdoor programming (yes, even in winter!), but will also share plenty of great ideas to help you embrace winter by offering new programs in your community.

Ideas to be shared include: Winter StoryWalks, Scavenger Hunts, Outdoor challenges (Who can make the best snow art?), Citizen Science, Nature Play, new collections (Snowshoes, anyone?), and more.

Throughout, we’ll highlight how outdoor winter programs can be done safely, for both staff and patrons; and how community partnerships can lessen the load, enabling you and your staff to do more.

Help with Complete Streets Research

You are invited to take part in a research study being conducted by Smart Growth America in partnership with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University. Take the survey here.

According to recently published research from the University of Madison, “Libraries are well positioned to act as urban planning advocates and facilitators to ensure that the pathways are as safe and inclusive as the destination itself.”

The American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities featured libraries doing this work in the “Case Study: Red Hook (N.Y.) Public Library: One Small Win Creates Huge Ripples of Change” focused on how a library and “the community worked together by fixing the town’s stoplight.”

Maybe you’ve hosted your town’s Department of Transportation for a community conversation on a Complete Streets Master Plan? Maybe you’ve worked with partners to install new amenities like Bike Fix-It Stations or sheltered bike racks at your library, using a participatory design framework to do so? Maybe you’ve worked with partners to design new public art that transforms the experience of being a pedestrian or a bicyclist (examples from libraries in Oregon and New York).

Making our streets safer for all people requires efforts on multiple fronts. Changing road designs can create safe space for people to walk, bike, drive, ride transit, and move actively using assistive devices. But this alone may not always be enough to eliminate crashes. Engaging road users through outreach and education is an important step for safety and helps to ensure all voices are heard in the planning process. Outreach can mean anything from collecting input during the planning process of a new design or educating drivers on how to safely share the road.

The purpose of the research is to collect information about effective and notable Complete Streets outreach, educational, and engagement activities. As part of this effort, researchers would also like to know the challenges you face and even the methods you have tried that have not worked well. Your responses, both your successes and failures, can be great learning opportunities for communities around the country.

Please submit your response by December 15, 2020.

Take the survey here.

Celebrate your county’s innovative healthy living programs

Applications are now open for the United States’ National Association of Counties (NACo) 2021 Achievement Awards. Since 1970, the NACo Achievement Awards have recognized outstanding county government programs and services. Through a non-competitive application process, noteworthy programs receive awards in 18 categories that cover a vast range of county responsibilities. By participating, your county can earn national recognition. NACo will highlight the 18 “best of category” winners, as well as feature all winners in NACo materials and online. NaCo will also provide a customizable press release for you to share the good news with the media and residents. The early bird application deadline is March 8, 2021 and regular deadline is March 31, 2021. Please email with any questions.

If you work for a county library, you can apply directly. If you’re part of a municipal library or library district, someone from your county will have to apply on your behalf. Learn more on National Association of Counties webpage. They especially encourage applications in the following categories:

  • Libraries – Engage libraries to achieve community goals and support innovation and public outreach through county library systems
  • Health – Improve residents’ physical and/or behavioral health, including through promoting healthy living and delivering health services
  • Children and Youth – Ensure children’s development through a continuum of supportive services including health, education and childcare

Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board Member featured on Health.Gov

We’re thrilled to share that our Advisory Board member Austin Persinger, Director of the Summers County Public Library in Hinton, West Virginia, was recently featured on Health.Gov, the official webpage of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, for his innovative partnership with Active Southern West Virginia.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Partnering with Libraries for Greater Reach

Active SWV has also reached out to local libraries to meet kids where they are. For example, they provided a no-touch obstacle course kit to the bookmobile program at Summers County Public Library in Hinton, West Virginia. Now, when kids come to access books and free Wi-Fi, they can also get their daily dose of physical activity.

Seiler says they’re also planning to partner with libraries across the state for a 6-week movement challenge. Libraries can participate by displaying campaign materials, posting on social media, and encouraging patrons to get active and track their progress through a free online platform. Library teams can then compete to log the most activity within 6 weeks.

“Libraries are really strong partners because they’re viewed as a reliable source of media,” Seiler says.”

Read the full story at Southern West Virginia Blends In-Person and Virtual Activities for Move Your Way Community Campaign.

Way to go, Austin! Have your innovative services been featured in local, state, or national media? We’d love to hear from you. Share your story to inspire others!

Additional resources for healthy living programming at your library

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’d like to thank the Lillie M. Evans Library District in Princeville, Illinois, for including our logo in their Fall 2020 Move Your Way. Bike the Trail: Library to Library program (pictured here).

Bring the logo to your library by downloading our logo and add it to your promotional materials. Just let us know how you use it!

We are also thrilled to share that Healthy Living at the Library was published in Summer 2020. Take a look at the table of contents and consider adding this title to your library’s continuing education and development collection. The book recently received a glowing review in Library Journal!

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!

Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, we had been featuring a different program idea each month, including music and movement, hands-on gardening, chair-based exercises, and StoryWalk(R). Check these out! We’ll be back with more featured programs in future newsletters, many of them focused on healthy eating! Please reach out with ideas for future featured programs at any point. We’d also encourage you to Share Your Story and also checking out the stories other librarians have shared with us.

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. Mrs. Obama worked to increase physical activity and nutrition through museums, with the support of the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services. We now align Let’s Move in Libraries even closer to Mrs. Obama’s original vision by supporting both physical activity and food based programming and partnerships in public libraries. More information on this expansion and the ideas behind it can be found in our revised About Page. We would love your feedback at any point!

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. 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.