Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Let’s Move in Libraries newsletter. This month’s featured image comes from the Bancroft Library in Salem, New York one of the newest additions to the Southern Adirondack Library System’s Farm-2-Library program.

We invite you to join us May 20 for an online conversation on “How Public Libraries are part of the solution to food insecurity” featuring Erica Freudenberger, co-founder of Fresh Food Collective Farm-2-Library initiative, as well as Patrice Chamberlain of  the California Library Association’s Lunch at the Library, Leighan Cazier of the Richland Library in Columbia (SC), and Caity Rietzen, Acting Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Culinary Literacy Center.

This engaging conversation will be moderated by Tom Llewellyn, Strategic Partnerships Director of and co-founder of the Asheville Tool Library. Sign up now for How Public Libraries are part of the solution to food insecurity, and share this invite with a friend. This event is not only for librarians, but for anyone interested in food, health, or community development. This is event is co-presented by UNC Greensboro School of Education, Let’s Move in Libraries, and

New free downloadable StoryWalk(R) title

We’re thrilled to share the release of a new, free, downloadable StoryWalk(R) title. Thanks to a partnership involving Curious City, Banacom Signs, Barking Dog Exhibits, publisher Child’s Play(R), and Let’s Move in Libraries, you can now download Big Dance by Aoife Greenham. This file contains 16 individual high resolution PDF’s. The publisher Child’s Play has waived the need for individual permission. You are NOT violating copyright by using this signage. This printable StoryWalk(R) can be displayed for five years. Get started at Curious City, where you can preview the book before downloading it.

Any book your library owns can be turned into a StoryWalk(R), but this partnership means that you don’t need to take apart a book to make the walk. Just download the files, laminate them, post them, and you have a StoryWalk(R)! Learn more about the StoryWalk(R) movement at our Program Page.

We are also thrilled to share that we are teaming up with the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services for the first ever StoryWalk(R) Week! Learn more on our StoryWalk(R) resource page. The event will occur November 15-19 and in a future Let’s Move in Libraries newsletter we’ll be asking you to feature your StoryWalk(R) story as part of this celebration.

May is National Meditation Month (U.S.)

Thanks to advisory board member Chelsea Swinford (Boone County [KY] Public Library) for this news item! Meditation and mindfulness are great tools to help us recover not only from pandemic burnout, but also from the stresses of everyday life during “normal” times. Kids feel these stresses, too, and research shows incorporating mindfulness techniques into preschool programming can help children develop the self-regulation and resilience they’ll need to cope. You can build entire programs around mindfulness and meditation (Katie Scherrer’s Stories, Songs, and Stretches would be a great place to start), but it’s also simple to pepper your existing programs with mindful moments. They make great transitions during storytime! A few of my favorites are:

  • Take Five: Hold one hand out in front of you. With the other hand, trace up the side of your pinky finger and breathe in. Breathe out as you trace down the other side. Breathe in as you trace up the ring finger, and so on through the thumb.

  • Birthday Candle Breaths: Close your eyes and picture a birthday cake. Take a big breath in like you’re smelling the cake, then breathe out your mouth to blow out the candle. You can take this a step further by asking kids to think about what they do on their birthdays and focus on how that makes them feel.

  • Bee Breaths: Breathe in through your nose, then buzz like a bee until you’re out of breath. This breath is extra effective with eyes closed, preferably picturing a relaxing field of flowers.

  • Belly Breaths: Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Your belly should puff out and your chest should stay still. Breathe out through your mouth and notice how your belly goes down. A hoberman sphere is a great prop to add a visual element to this exercise!

  • (Circle,) Jog, Freeze, Melt: Place one hand over your heart and feel how slow or fast it’s going. Now, jump or jog in place (or in a circle in group settings) until you hear “freeze.” Stay frozen until you hear “melt,” at which point you’ll lie on the floor, entirely relaxed. Repeat until all excess energy is burned off. End the game by placing your hand over your heart and feeling how much faster it’s beating. Try some breathing exercises to calm it down! These exercises can work to calm us down whether our bodies are worked up from physical exercise or from strong emotions like anger or fear.

Celebrating National Fitness Day and National Bike Month in New Orleans

In the United States, May is National Bike Month. In Canada, Bike Month is June. We’ve been thrilled to see all the amazing things librarians have organized with their community partners. Particularly impressive is the work of the New Orleans Public Library.

They invite you to “Celebrate National Fitness Day with the New Orleans Public Library’s African American Resource Collection and Sistahs on Wheels for an outdoor bike ride May 1. National Fitness Day is observed every year on the first Saturday of May and offers an opportunity to be inspired and try new ways of becoming fit and healthy.” Learn more on The Times Picayune’s website.

What do you have planned for bike month at your library? Let us know and share your story to inspire others!

Want to stay ahead of upcoming special celebrations like National Bike Month and National Fitness Day? Our advisory board member Jenn Carson has organized a comprehensive list of these days in her book Get Your Community Moving: Physical Literacy Programs for All Ages. Take a look!

Move, Play, Read published in Association for Library Services to Children

Our collaboratively authored article “Move, Play, Read!” is now published in Association for Library Services to Children’s Spring issue! Authors include members of Let’s Move in Libraries Advisory Board members Noah Lenstra, Heidi Whelan, Jenn Carson, Kelly Senser, Michelle Bennett-Copeland, Christy Dyson, Danielle Fortin, Barbara Scott, Catherine Jellison. Read it online for free on the American Library Association website, and in print if you are a member of ALSC.

New podcast episode from Publisher’s Weekly on health and wellness

Earlier this Spring, I virtually sat down with Dr. Nicole A. Cooke, Augusta Baker Endowed Chair at the University of South Carolina, to discuss Health and Wellness as part of The Skillset Podcast. Listen online. The Skillset Podcast is a free weekly podcast hosted by University of South Carolina professors R. David Lankes and Nicole A. Cooke.The podcast is a joint effort from the University of South Carolina School of Information Science, the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair, and the South Carolina Center for Community Literacy, and Publishers Weekly.

Listen and follow along here.

Join our advisory board!

We wouldn’t be able to function without our amazing Advisory Board of public librarians and their allies from across the United States and Canada. We now seek 3-4 enthusiastic public library staff members or public library supporters from anywhere in the world to join us for a two-year term on the advisory board that will begin August 2021 and go until May 2023.

The time required will be minimal: Approximately two, one-hour, online meetings a year, plus monthly email requests for feedback on upcoming newsletters. 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!

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. You can also share your story using this structured form. 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.