Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the Let’s Move in Libraries newsletter. This month we highlight:

  • How to support gardening during the pandemic
  • The Black Health and Healing Virtual Summit hosted by Queens Public Library and the Black Caucus of the ALA
  • A free virtual symposium for library staff focused on their health and wellness
  • Join in the Public Health and Public Library conversation
  • New resources on library book bike outreach

This month’s featured image comes from Třinec Library in the Czech Republic. Librarian Jan Delong allowed us to publish in translation how “libraries grow and move” at his library.

Inspired by examples of other library gardens, on Earth Day 2019, the Třinec Library and volunteers from Mklub — a library-led youth space open to all ages, but with a special focus on people aged 13 to 30 — gathered together plastic boxes, old banners and pallets they had at their disposal. Then, everyone who was interested decorated them and planted plants in them. The library obtained the soil free of charge in cooperation with the City of Třinec. The seeds and plants were brought by each participant.

Within a month, the community garden’s greenery, located in front of the Mklub, prompted many to stop and to explore. Many came in and wanted to know where the library got the soil from, what the library was actually growing and the garden, and why the library started a garden. Patrons took home with them cucumbers and strawberries. They always asked first if they could pluck one from the garden, and were very happy with the final harvest. The library has also used the garden for celebrations and for meetings with volunteers. It became a gathering spot and a spot to celebrate.

Did you know gardens are popping up in and around public libraries around the world? For example, on January 28, 2021, Sara Tabin wrote “if you don’t have the space in your own backyard (or don’t have a yard at all), the downtown Salt Lake City Public Library has four open community garden plots that will be assigned through a raffle that closes on Feb. 1.” Hosting a community garden is just one more way that public libraries promote access to healthy living opportunities.

How can you get started transforming your space into a smart gardening space? We recommend utilizing the new OCLC/WebJunction “Toolkit for Creating Smart Spaces.” The toolkit walks you through the process of creating “community-driven spaces” by “re-thinking the use of physical space,” and it even includes an in-depth example of how one library in New Hampshire re-imagined its outdoor spaces through community design. Take a look and get inspired to try something new at your library!

We also have a resource guide for libraries wishing to get started with gardening programming. With more and more people stuck at home during the COVID-19 Pandemic, now is the perfect time to do programming around gardening. In addition to hosting a community garden at your library, you could:
  1. Start a Virtual Group for new and experienced gardeners in your community to share advice, inspiration, and resources. That is what McCracken County Public Library in Paducah, Kentucky did in 2020. Check out their #HealthyAtHome Gardening Group, and try to start something similar in your community during 2021.
  2. Exercise your resources. The US Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension System is an excellent partner for gardening programs. Their Master Gardeners can be particularly helpful. For inspiration, check out the “Fridays at the Library Gardening Webinars set” in Vienna, West Virginia. This programming partnership is celebrating its seventh year in 2021, and will be held every Friday in February at 11 a.m. Due to COVID-19, this program will be a webinar format on zoom. All gardening enthusiasts, experts and beginners are welcome.
  3. Get started with a seed library! The listserve of the Sustainability Roundtable of the American Library Association recently featured a lively discussion of libraries that circulate seeds. Some of the resources shared include: “The Making of the Mass Aggie Seed Library: A Gardening How-to for Others“; and Cleveland Public Library hosts several seed libraries throughout our neighborhood branches along with our seasonal book boxes. They partner with the Hummingbird Project/Cleveland Seed Bank who does all the manual labor to collect heirloom edible seeds and the addition of Milkweed seeds (non-edible) to support native Monarch Butterflies. Local sponsorship annually funds the seed libraries.

How will your library support gardeners, gardening, food security, and urban agriculture during 2021? Let us know! We’d love to feature your story.

The Black Health and Healing Virtual Summit hosted by Queens Public Library and the Black Caucus of the ALA

Join Queens Public Library and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association on February 5-6 for the free event: Black Health and Healing Virtual Summit. These virtual panels, lectures, and interactive workshops will leave you with the inspiration, support, skills and knowledge to make immediate health improvements! You don’t want to miss this.

Sessions include:

  • Race, Culture, and Hip Hop
  • Take the LEEP: Breaking Barriers. A talk by Olympic/Paralympic Games Medalist, World and American Record Holder Patrick “Blake” Leeper
  • Health Equity and the COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Staying connected to stay healthy
  • Diabetes: Health equity now
  • Speak up and speak out for Black health
  • And much more!

This event is partially funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012342 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System

A free virtual symposium for library staff focused on their health and wellness

Save-the-Date for BLOSSOM: Building Life-long Opportunities for Strength, Self-Care, Outlook, Morale, and Mindfulness. This is a free virtual symposium for library staff focused on their health and wellness from the Network of the National Library of Medicine to be held March 24, 25, 26, 2021. You can sign up now at:

This free three-day virtual symposium will bring together experts on morale in libraries, invisible services in libraries, vocational awe, burnout, and self-care. The symposium will provide library staff at all levels, including management, with key takeaways to help improve the health and wellness of library staff. This event is open to library science students and all library staff regardless of employment status.

Speakers include: Abigail Phillips, Amanda Leftwich, Amy Tureen, Beth Gallaway, Callan Bignoli, Eamon Tewell, Eileen Ybarra, Fobazi Ettarh, Janet Damon, Jenn Carson, JJ Pionke, Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, Max Bowman, Nikhat Ghouse, Nisha Mody, Sara Slymon, Tasha Nins, Twanna Hodge, Wendy Peters, and more!

How to join in Public Health and Public Library Conversations


The Public Library Association has partnered in a project exploring public health and public library partnerships, along with the Institute for Public Health Practice located at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the Prevention Research Center for Rural Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

A series of webinars has been scheduled to share results of 2020 research and the collection of program examples. The first webinar, Bringing Public Health and Public Libraries Together, was held on Jan. 12 and the recording is posted on YouTube.

The second webinar, The Power of Public Health-Public Library Collaborations: Examples from Iowa Libraries, will be held Feb. 9 at 1:00 pm Central. Register here.

The third webinar will be held Mar. 9 at 1:00 pm Central and will feature PLA Deputy Director Scott Allen and Noah Lenstra, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, speaking about PLA and public health-public library partnerships documented as part of the Let’s Move in Libraries initiatives. Register here.

In addition to these webinars, we invite you to participate in a series of monthly discussion sections, called “Public Health Public Libraries Collaborations.” Sign up and participate in these Zoom calls by registering here.

Join the conversation so that we can forge even stronger partnerships between public health and public health departments!

For more resources on how public health and public libraries can come together to promote healthy living, check out our article “Multi-Sectoral Coalitions for Health: Bringing Public Libraries to the Table.”

How have you worked with public health departments or professionals in your community? Let us know! We’d love to feature your story!!!

New resources on library book bike outreach

The Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services (ABOS) has made book bikes a strategic part of its goals. Mark your calendars for their second annual Book Bike Week celebration, to be heldAugust 2-6, 2021. To a look at the library bicycles featured in the first year by checking out the hashtag #BookBikeWeek2020.
ABOS has also established an award celebrating library book bike programs: The Book Bike Community Impact Award.
Presented annually to a library, department, or an individual who has provided exemplary library book bike service to their community.

To submit your 2021 Book Bike Community Impact Award, please click HERE.

The 2021 ABOS Awards Program will open on April 1, 2021 and close on July 16, 2021 at 5 p.m. CST.

Questions about the 2021 ABOS Awards Program can be directed to David Kelsey, 2021 ABOS President and 2021 ABOS Awards Committee Chair, at awards@abos-outreach.com.

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. 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.