Welcome to the May 2019 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries. This edition includes a call to join our advisory board, new resources to help librarians support active engagement in nature, an update on the Go4Life in libraries partnership, and notes from the field. 

This month’s featured image comes from a coalition of rural public libraries in Western Illinois who use the Let’s Move in Libraries logo as part of their ongoing “Bike the Trail: Library to Library” initiative. Bike the Trail Library to Library utilizes one of the area’s most prominent assets—the Rock Island Trail. There are currently five participating libraries on the trail system—Toulon Public Library, Wyoming Public Library, Lillie M. Evans Library, Dunlap Public Library, and Peoria Heights Public Library. The libraries cooperate to:  1) Provide bike repair stations at or by all five of the participating libraries, 2) Educate Trail users about the resources our libraries have to offer, 3) Develop online resources for trail users, and 4) Install bike repair stations and air pumps at or near the libraries. Learn more at their website. Beginning in April 2019, the Let’s Move in Libraries logo is freely available for any entity to use for non-commercial purposes. Go here to download the logo. Just let us know how you use it!

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.

Join our Advisory Board!

Our first Advisory Board met twice during the past year to discuss strategic directions in the Let’s Move in Libraries initiative. Librarians from throughout the U.S. and Canada joined us. One recommendation was staggered, two-year terms for board members, so that there would always be both returning and new members on the board. This recommendation has been made a policy. We now seek 5-6 enthusiastic public library staff members or public library supporters from anywhere in the world to join us for a two-year term that will begin August 2019 and go until May 2021.

The time required will be minimal: Approximately two, one-hour, online meetings a year, plus very sporadic email requests for feedback. You will have the opportunity to become more involved as you wish and as you are able. You will have the benefit of working with at least 8 current Advisory Board members who will serve with you during the first year of your term. You will be given the opportunity to network with leaders on this topic from across North America, and hopefully beyond!

Express your interest in joining the advisory board by filling out this short, one-page form. Have questions? Reach out to us!

Librarians Venture Outside!

Earlier this month, project director Noah Lenstra led two programs on active, outdoor programming at the joint conference of the Maryland and Delaware Library Associations and at the annual North Carolina Live (NC Live) conference.

The Maryland/Delaware presentation featured Betsey Brannen, who discussed the Fitness Rocks Storytimes she developed in collaboration with Frederick County Parks and Recreation and Jennifer Adams, who discussed working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to develop collections of fishing gear that can be checked out from the library.

The NC Live presentation featured Becky Schneider, who discussed how her library supports gardening and gardeners through classes, a seed exchange, and a teaching garden, and Libbie Dobbs-Alexander who discussed the North Carolina Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE initiative, and how it is being used by libraries to support outdoor learning.

The Ohio Library Council organized a similar session as part of its Community Engagement in Libraries Symposium, which took place on May 15 in Dublin, Ohio. Librarians from Ohio presented “Let’s Go Outside: Partnering with Local Parks, Community Gardens and More!” We’re thrilled to see that this trend has started to take out! Let’s continue venturing outside and getting our communities active and engaged in nature!

Both presentations, and their handouts, are available online. Check out the Maryland/Delaware and the NCLive presentations, and let us know how you support active engagement in nature at your libraries!

Update on Go4Life in Libraries Project

During the past month, we have been working with our partners in the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life initiative to finalize the Go4Life in Libraries project. This project focuses on increasing partnerships between external entities and public libraries focused on healthy fitness programs for older adults. The full results from our Spring 2019 survey on this topic have now been published. The full data-set is also available. Check out how public libraries and partners work together to increase physical activity among older adults! Let us know how the results from this survey compare to experiences in your libraries.

Go4Life is now preparing an introduction to this study that will be used to help potential partners better understand how to reach out to and work with public librarians to offer fitness programs for older adults. Through this endeavor even more libraries will be able to offer life-enriching, lifelong learning exercise programs! More information on this partnership will be shared in future newsletters.

Notes from the field: Bike Month and Star Wars

In the United States, May is National Bike and many, many libraries do their part to support bicycling. In Ohio, the Richland Source published an article entitled “6 things to know for Bike Month this May,” and number 4 on the list is “You can borrow a bike from the library. No bike? No problem. Check one out for the day from the Lexington or Butler Branches.” Learn more about this program on the library’s website.

Just in time for Bike Month, the public library in Omaha, Nebraska announced that you can now get a bicycle with your library card there too! In fact, dozens of libraries now check out bicycles. We produced a video about the bike program at Bethlehem Area Public Library in Pennsylvania and you can also check out this video about how bike check-out works at the Annapolis Valley Regional Library in Nova Scotia, Canada. We also wrote an article for Public Libraries Online about this trend. Consider developing bike check-out at your library!

Other libraries participae in Bike Month by holding special programs and getting involved in community bike coalitions, like they do at libraries in Charleston, South Carolina, Durham, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Are you doing anything special for bike month at your library? Let us know!

In other news, we want to commend two libraries for incorporating physical activity into Star Wars themed “May the Fourth Be With” programs that took place on May 4. The Poudre River Public Library District in Colorado teamed up with a local Comic Con to organize  the “May the Fourth Kessel Run.” It was free to participate in. Families were invited to run or walk – in costume if they wished – along a course that began and ended at the library. Along the course were special stations set up. These included “Jedi Master Crafts,” “Lightsaber Training,” and the “Death Star Trench Run.” The event was a smashing success! Check out the pictures and try this program idea out at your library next year!

Simultaneously, across the country in West Virginia the Bridgeport Public Library taught kids Jedi moves for Star Wars Day. The library partnered with the Outer Rim Praxeum Lightsaber School to teach traditional lightsaber forms. Children learned basic attack and defense moves used within the Star Wars universe and were then given the opportunity to duel with one another. The library says these events are always popular within he communit: “We have lots of Star Wars fans in our library. I know lots of our patrons are huge Star Wars fans and it’s just fun for the kids to come and practice,” said children’s librarian Amy Eakle.

We’d like to hear, and share, how you move in your library!! Tag us on social media or email news directly through our website. We’d love to hear from you!

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.

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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.