Welcome to the January 2019 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries. This edition highlights: a) how libraries got us moving on New Year’s Eve, b) stories of libraries trying new things, and c) updates on ongoing Let’s Move in Libraries projects.

“Come on, girl!” Melva Anderson shouts to her cousin, Brittany White, of Portsmouth, Va., during a beginners line dancing class led by Linda Gray at Churchland Library in Portsmouth, Va., on Saturday, January 5, 2019. Photo via The Virginian Pilot.

Follow (and share with) Let’s Move in Libraries on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and YouTube to stay up-to-date with what public libraries do to get their communities moving. This month’s featured image comes from the Churchland library in Portsmouth, Virginia, which holds a weekly line dancing class at the library. This photograph comes from the first class of 2019. Todd Elliott, the city’s libraries director, told reporters that he likes to offer programs that engage his community. According to Elliott line dancing and yoga are “health programs that can attract those who ordinarily might not visit his facilities. They’re also popular. About 50 people were in the Coleman meeting room when dance class started at 10:30 a.m. Most were women, but a handful of men joined in. Ages ran the gamut — [including] some young millennials.”

New Year’s Eve Dance Party at the Library

Once again, public libraries throughout North America (and beyond) celebrated New Year’s Eve by having family-friendly dance parties. Let’s Move in Libraries kept track of these celebrations as they folded. Check out these lovely photographs and news stories about library dance parties in Bristol, Connecticut; Skokie, Illinois; New York; Grove City, Pennsylvania; Calgary’s New Central Library; Anchorage, Alaska; Kearney, Nebraska, Amherst, Massachusetts; and so many more! Did you organize a dance party at your library to celebrate the New Year? Let us know!

Stories of libraries trying new things

The fun didn’t stop on New Year’s Eve! Libraries are already starting new programs to get their communities moving. We wanted to highlight some of the inspiring emails we received this last month:

The Bellwood-Antis Public Library in Bellwood, Pennsylvania emailed to tell us that they’re “holding a Family Health & Safety Fair in February 2019 that will feature a Tai Chi demonstration geared towards people over 65. We hope to start presenting regular Tai Chi classes in early spring of 2019. Before the Health & Safety Fair the library has a Run for Reading 5K race that benefits the library and the Northern Blair County Recreation Center.”

The Plain Dealing Branch of the Bossier Parish Libraries in Louisiana emailed that they’re starting a “Get Fit program will run monthly the third Tuesday of each month at 10AM and the first class will be Tues. Jan. 15 at 10AM.”

The Forsyth County Public Library in Georgia let us know that their Hampton Park branch is starting a new “Movin’ and Groovin’ at the Library Program Series: This program is every second Tuesday from January to April. We cover one movement activity per month and have a supplemental craft as well. The activities are as follows: January 8: Yoga; February 12: Zumba; March 12: Tai Chi; April 9: Hula Hoop Fitness.”

The Champaign Public Library in Illinois told us that their “Chair Yoga was a huge success! So much so that the instructor is now offering a Chair Yoga class at his studio for the first time ever and is giving a special rate to library patrons! Continuing with our senior movement initiative we have Zumba Gold classes scheduled for the first three Wednesdays in January. As you may know this type of Zumba is particularity suited for older folks or folks with limited mobility. We had our first class [January 2, 2019] and packed the hall! Beginning February 6 we are offering Dancing for Health and Fun taught by an acclaimed local dance instructor. This is also offered for all folks of all abilities and mobilities as the class can be done entirely in chairs! We are happy to offer this class to our patrons every Wednesday throughout February and March.”

We also wrote a story about how libraries in the United Kingdom are stepping up with special programs in the New Year to help people live more actively.

Are you trying anything new this year at your library? Share with us!

Updates on Let’s Move in Libraries projects

On January 8, 2019, Let’s Move in Libraries teamed up with OCLC/Webjunction, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, and the Miami (OK) Public Library for “Health Literacy Begins at Your Library,” a free webinar. We’re thrilled to report that the recording and learner’s guide are now available online. 227 people participated! This number included folks from at least 23 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces. Here are selections from some of the participants’ anonymous feedback:

  • Good ideas for topical programs and organizations to partner with
  • I will consider partnering with Extension Centers and local hospitals to find instructor for programs on health related issues. I will consider the following programs: healthy cooking, (in Spanish), walking programs and free exercise classes
  • I would love to start garden boxes on the library property.
  • We will use some of the links given for health data in our county and state. We saw lots of grant ideas that would really help our community.
  • We are embarking on a Health Literacy grant project, so this is very timely. It’s wonderful to know that I’m not alone!!
  • The process alone was great. Assess, find partners, plan, evaluate. There were some partners I had not thought of before.
  • Great information shared.
  • Everything was explained very clearly and well.
  • Good to have all the links to resources

If you missed the webinar, you can watch it online whenever you want. Also, check out our Events page for recordings of other past webinars we’ve done.

In other news, we are thrilled to share that Advisory Board member (and New Brunswick library director) Jenn Carson’s new book is now available for pre-order! Yoga and Meditation at the Library: A Practical Guide for Librarians contains step-by-step instructions about how to infuse Yoga and meditation into your library spaces, programs, and collections. Our research found that Yoga is the most commonly offered type of movement-based program in North American libraries. Whether you already offer some Yoga and want to enhance what you already do, or if you want to try Yoga at the library for the first time, this new book should definitely be checked out!

Finally, our work with the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life campaign continues very strong! In our February 2019 newsletter we will be asking for information from libraries that offer physical activity programs targeted in whole or in part at older adults. We will then use that information to inform the next steps of this collaboration! We also want to thank Go4Life for putting us in contact with Geri-Fit: Strength Training Workout that Work. With that connection, a study of using Geri-Fit for chair-based exercise classes in older adults is beginning this January in over 60 public libraries across the U.S.! Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new initiative!

Follow (and share with) Let’s Move in Libraries on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and YouTube 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!

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.