November 2020 NEWSLETTER

In Ontario, Halton Hills Public Library invited its community to “get in the ‘spirit’ and join #HHPL for a Halloween Storywalk in Downtown Georgetown.”

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

  • How Libraries Can Promote Healthy, Thriving, and Livable Communities, One Step at a Time
  • Resources for Virtual Healthy Living Programs
  • Thinking about Sustainability during the Pandemic

This month’s featured image comes from Halton Hills Public Library in Ontario, which celebrated Halloween with a downtown StoryWalk(r): Between October 23 and 31 they featured the pages of a Halloween story in the windows of some stores in downtown Georgetown. The walk began at the library’s front door and participants then read the pages in order as you they enjoyed a walk downtown.

What is a downtown StoryWalk, you ask? It’s the perfect way to build community during the pandemic! As we wrote for OCLC/WebJunction this summer, “As a self-paced program, StoryWalk installations can be safely enjoyed while practicing social distancing. By installing the pages in downtown storefront windows you have the added benefit of not having to worry about people touching the different pages as they walk.” It’s also the perfect outdoor program for any season. Even before COVID-19, public libraries across North America had teamed up with business districts for downtown StoryWalk(r) installations during the winter holidays. Learn more in the article Take a StoryWalk Through Downtown with the Library. Get started with StoryWalk(r) programming in general on our StoryWalk Program Page.

Ready to learn more about “How Libraries Can Promote Healthy, Thriving, and Livable Communities, One Step at a Time?” October 22, we joined OCLC/WebJunction, America Walks, High Point Public Library, and the San Diego Public Library for a free webinar on walking and public libraries. Did you miss it? The webinar recording, learner’s guide, and additional resources are all freely available at WebJunction. Check it out! We covered everything from transforming parking lots into parks to urban hike challenges to walk audits to StoryWalk and many, many other ways that public libraries support walkable, accessible communities for all to move.

If you’re inspired to take things to the next level at your library, consider applying for a Community change grants available now from America Walks. Applications are open until November 9, 2020. America Walks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit national organization, is leading the way in advancing safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move by giving people and communities the resources to effectively advocate for change. Their Community Change Grants program works to provide support to the growing network of advocates, organizations, and agencies using innovative, engaging, and inclusive programs and projects to create change at the community level. Applications typically open in the fall and grants are awarded for the full calendar year following. The number of grants awarded varies each year dependent upon funds available.

In the past, American Walks has funded library programs in High Point, North Carolina, and Little Rock, Arkansas, and may fund your idea too! In High Point, America Walks enabled the library to create an urban hikes walking challenge during the COVID-19 Pandemic and in Little Rock they funded a StoryWalk(R) at one of the Central Arkansas Library System’s branches.

Resources for Virtual Healthy Living Programs

In addition to outdoor programming, public libraries continue to support healthy habits during the COVID-19 pandemic through virtual program. The U.S. Network of the National Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) has published a number of free webinars on this topic, and has even more scheduled in the weeks to come! We especially encourage you all to join the NNLM for “Libraries Build Healthy Communities: Going Virtual @ Brooklyn Public Library” on Nov 10, 2020, from 3:00PM – 4:00PM ET.

Here’s what they will cover: “Health programming is a staple offering at many public libraries. With the onset of COVID-19, staff at Brooklyn Public Library took their health programming virtual. During this one hour webinar, staff and community partners from Brooklyn Public Library will share how they adapted health programming into a virtual environment. This presentation will address:

  • Resources for virtual health programming.
  • Adapting in-person curriculum to virtual platforms.
  • Highlights and challenges of going virtual with health programming.
  • Topics and examples of virtual health programs.
  • Tips for using online platforms & managing registration.
  • Building relationships with community partners.

We also encourage checking out the many other resources the NNLM has for virtual healthy living programs. Here are some of their free offerings:

  1. Bobbi Newman and the Greater Midwest Regional Library offer a free monthly newsletter on “Public Libraries and Healthy Communities.” Click the link to enter your email address and to subscribe
  2. With support from the NNLM, the Facebook group Libraries are Champions of Healthy Communities is an open space for public librarians to share news, get advice, and exchange ideas.
  3. Their Kernel of Knowledge webinar series is a great way to stay up-to-date with how public libraries, and others, are adapting and thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Their Health Programming for Summer Learning Guide will help you think of new ways to engage your community in healthy habits during summer at your library.
  5. Their All of Us initiative has a special section focused on Virtual Health Programming.

Take a look at their many offerings, and get new ideas on how to support healthy habits through virtual programming at your library!

Thinking about Sustainability during the Pandemic

On October 15, 2020 we joined the Sustainability in Libraries Mini-Conference by presenting “Sustaining Community Connections through Outdoor Oriented Programming During COVID-19” – check out the recording to learn about some of the ways libraries are taking their programs outside, and in the process transforming outdoor public spaces! We covered a LOT in this short 30 minute presentation. Check it out and if you like what you hear, go to our Events Page to download the full slides.
The full conference website has all the recordings of all sessions now available. You’ll find public librarians talking about everything from gardening, to food to environmental programs, as well as discussions of more generally how to embrace sustainability in all that we do. It was a great mini-conference! We invite you all to check it out!
How have you sustained community connects through outdoor oriented programming during COVID-19 at your library? Let us know by sharing your story!

Additional resources for 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.