Welcome to the September 2018 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries. This edition includes: a) the inspirational story of a Kentucky library with walking, Tai Chi, and Yoga programs; b) new resources on how to safely promote physical activity in the library; c) opportunities for public libraries to support physical activity among older adults; d) a re-cap of our speaking engagements; and e) the release of our latest research article.

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Getting Active in Kentucky Libraries, Indoors and Outside

In Woodford County, Kentucky, the library recently built upon seven years of successful Yoga programs by developing new outdoors physical activity programs. They now offer outdoor Tai Chi at one branch, and outdoor walking programs at another. Adult services librarian Emily Saderholm said in this community “outdoor exercise isn’t available elsewhere,” so the library is filling a critical community need. Read more about their inspirational story on our website.

Share your library’s story by contacting us! We’d love to feature your story to inspire others.

New resources on how to safely promote physical activity in the library

Thank you to everyone who sent us information about how you safely promote physical activity at your library. We have updated the Resources page on our website with new examples of waivers of liability forms used by public libraries across North America for physical activity programs.

Different libraries handle the issue of safety in different ways. One librarian wrote “We do not require waivers for any programs (whether risky from physical activity or soldering, etc.). Outside groups (such as the climbing wall we brought in) often post waivers, but still, no signatures required. I’ve been told our insurance covers it.” Another wrote that “As an independent agency of a city and county, we are self insured. While we don’t have any participant sign a waiver nor allow a presenter to ask for signed waivers, the city attorney has advised us to not have any staff member teach a movement class (ie: yoga, zumba, karate). We’ve also been advised to not use needles such as with acupuncture. Myself and others in administration are always balancing between mitigating risks and appropriate programming.” A third wrote “For formal fitness programs–yoga and tai chi–we require waivers. For informal movement programs like dance parties and kid olympics we do not.” For more information on this topic, check out the recently published article in Public Libraries Online, “Fitting Fitness into Library Programming,” written by Florida public librarian Alison McCarty.

How do the experiences of these librarians compare to yours? Drop us a line or fill out our anonymous survey to share your experiences and feedback relating to safety and physical activity programming.

Opportunities to support physical activity among older adults

In the United States, September is Go4Life month, during which our partner, Go4Life, an initiative of the National Institute on Aging, emphasizes the importance of physical activity among older adults. To celebrate, Go4Life just launched their re-designed website, which features easy-to-access workout videos you can use for free at your library, free resources you can request through the mail (or download and print), and a Go4Life Month toolkit you can use to start and sustain physical activity programming for older adults anytime of the year. Public libraries already participating in Go4Life Month include: Ferdinand Public Library in Indiana, Madison Public Library in Wisconsin, Knox County Public Library in Indiana, and Colesburg Public Library in Iowa. Is your library offering any special programs for Go4Life Month? Let us know!

In celebration of Go4Life Month, Let’s Move in Libraries project director Noah Lenstra was interviewed for the podcast Not Old Better on the topic of how public libraries support physical activity among older adults. You can access the podcast on Soundcloud, or else you get your podcasts.

Finally, through Go4Life, Let’s Move in Libraries has formed a partnership with Geri-Fit, a progressive resistance exercise program designed for older adults. We are partnering with Geri-Fit to start a virtual (video-based) fitness study with rural and small libraries throughout the United States. There is still time to get involved and to bring this FREE program to your library. Visit our website for more information on how to participate.

Re-Cap of Let’s Move in Libraries On the Road

During the month of September, we are doing a lot of traveling! We just finished presenting on “Physical Activity Programs for Fun and for Health” at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries in Springfield, Illinois. The presentations are now online: Visit our website to hear the powerful story of how a small town library in Idaho started a collection of recreational equipment that they check out to support active lifestyles. The Portneuf District Library checks out 23 recreation kits, plus seven bicycles, a volleyball net, workout equipment and much, much more. Find out how they developed this collection, how they utilize it for programming, and the impacts it has had. Also check out the presentation of Ashley Batchelder of Mount Zion, Illinois, where the library offers Music and Movement programs for babies and caregivers, and summer gardening programs for youth.

Later this month we will be part of a panel on “Movin’ and Groovin’ in the Library” at the Annual Institute of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

We are also thrilled to share that Let’s Move in Libraries Inaugural Advisory Board Member Jenn Carson presented on how to “Get Your Community Moving: Physical Literacy Programs for All Ages” at the annual NextLibrary Conference in Berlin, Germany. Way to go, Jenn! Check out Jenn’s book from ALA Editions to learn more about her important work.

In October, Let’s Move in Libraries is partnering with Indiana State Library to offer a free webinar for Indiana librarians on how to bring physical activity to the library. We’d love to partner with you to offer free continuing education on this topic. We don’t charge any fees for speaking engagements, if done virtually. If in person, we only ask for support with travel expenses.

The release of our latest research article

We’re thrilled to share that the latest Let’s Move in Libraries research article was just released. Check it out: “The Role of Public Librarians in Supporting Physical Activity” in Advances in Library Administration and Organization! Here’s the abstract: “Public librarians throughout North America now support physical activity. One sees this function in the emergence and diffusion of new programs and services, such as librarians checking out exercise equipment, as well as in librarians actually sponsoring exercise classes. This chapter focuses on understanding this type of work. The first part looks at five different frameworks – the library as place, community-led librarianship, whole person librarianship, community health, and recreation and leisure – that each in different ways enable one to understand how supporting physical activity could become part of the work of public librarians. Focus then shifts to understanding empirically how public librarians in the US and Canada enact and understand this work. Research shows that this role has become more integral and expected in youth services than in adult services. Library staff themselves are more likely to lead movement-based programs for youth than for adults. The discussion then shifts to the implications of this trend in terms of evidence-based practice and multidisciplinary discussions on how and why to increase physical activity throughout society. The conclusion suggests additional work needed to understand this and other poorly understood functions of public librarians.”

Having trouble accessing the article? Let us know and we can send it to you directly.

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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.