The October 2022 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • Call for participation in StoryWalk® 2022
  • A free webinar on the “Role of Public Libraries in Promoting Health and Health Equity”
  • Key take-away’s from White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
  • Inspiring stories from Hickory, North Carolina and Apache Junction, Arizona

This month’s featured image comes from DeKalb County, Georgia, where the County Commissioners approved a Fruitful Libraries Resolution in August 2022, a commitment by the county to create a plan to transition all 23 libraries into using its outdoor spaces to promote outdoor education. When completed, it will be the most ambitious county library landscaping plan in the country.

DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry introduced the resolution after partnering with non-profit Roots Down to help build eight productive urban landscapes at county libraries, including the Salem Panola Branch, pictured here.

In just the last year, Roots Down and its community partners converted over 130k sqft around DeKalb County Libraries into Fruitful Library gardens for outdoor education.

“The Fruitful Libraries Resolution is much more than enhancing the greenspace surrounding the libraries,” said Jamie Rosenthal, founder and CEO of Roots Down. “It relies on a programmatic ecosystem that includes green job training, youth programs, and educational opportunities to teach how we can advocate for a greener Georgia. This landscape paradigm shift happening at the libraries will positively ripple effect on so many people by bringing the community closer together.”

Learn more here and here. Photo courtesy Roots Down.

We’d like to thank Tres Crow for sharing this story with us!

Is your library doing something great with community partners? Let us know!

An important update on StoryWalk® 2022

We are thrilled to share that StoryWalk® week 2022 will be November 7-11! Our partner the Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services has prepared this StoryWalk Submission Form.

Who is eligible to participate? Anyone! We welcome all to share their efforts to combine reading, trails, paths, and public space. Whether you call your effort a StoryWalk®, a story trail, a book trail, a poetrywalk, or something else, we want to feature you in this international celebration!

What can I share? The form asks you to upload a photograph documenting your StoryWalk. Ideally, the photograph should be from the past year. It can also include flyers for upcoming events, if your library plans a StoryWalk, but not yet done it.

When can I share? The form will be open through November 3.

How can I see what has been shared? The StoryWalk photographs and captions will be shared on Let’s Move in Libraries social media, on the social media of the
Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, and on the Let’s Move in Libraries webpage.

Learn more about our partner, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services.

For inspiration, look at the archive of the inaugural StoryWalk® Week 2021, which featured nearly 500 submissions for public librarians in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and over a dozen from other countries.

Let’s get even more StoryWalk stories shared in 2022!

The StoryWalk® movement continues to spread, in part through the success and visibility of efforts like StoryWalk® Week! In September 2022, Let’s Move in Libraries director Noah Lenstra got the opportunity to speak with library science students in Taiwan on this topic. They are very excited to bring the StoryWalk® movement into Taiwan’s public libraries. Stay tuned for more.

A free webinar on the “Role of Public Libraries in Promoting Health and Health Equity”

On Thursday, October 6, and then Thursday, October 13, all are invited to a free two-part webinar on the “Role of Public Libraries in Promoting Health and Health Equity.” This webinar is sponsored by the United States Network of the National Library of Medicine, NIH Office of Disease Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The first webinar will feature Dr. Sasha Fleary, Ph.D., who will describe her research on the role libraries can play in improving public health. Webinar participants will also hear an overview of Healthy People 2030 and a demonstration of Healthy People data and resources. Dr. Fleary is the author of Fleary, S. A., Gonçalves, C., Joseph, P. L., & Baker, D. M. (2022). Census Tract Demographics Associated with Libraries’ Social, Economic, and Health-Related ProgrammingInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(11), 6598. – which found that “The programs offered most frequently by libraries surveyed included financial literacy (54.5% of libraries), job preparedness (57%), and physical activity education (45.5%). Nutrition and/or healthy eating (43.5%) was offered daily at ~36% of the libraries.”

The second webinar will feature three public libraries from across the country will discuss how they impact health outcomes in their communities as Healthy People 2030 Champions, including Sacramento Public Library (California), Catawba County Library System (North Carolina), and Akron-Summit County Public Library (Ohio). These featured public librarians include Let’s Move in Libraries members Katie Ball and Erica Derr.

Katie Ball is the Special Projects Associate at the Sacramento Public Library in Sacramento, California. In her role, she oversees Health Literacy programs for the 28 Library locations and mobile services unit that serves Sacramento County. Since 2019, Ball has introduced exercise, mindfulness, health education and health kits to Library offerings. A native of Sacramento, Ball is committed to providing the community with quality, accessible health programs and services. Katie participated in the Let’s Move in Libraries webinar “Checking out Health and Wellness at the Library” on developing a Library of Things focused on health.

Erica Derr is the Collaborative Services Librarian since 2017 for Catawba County Library System located in the foothills of North Carolina. She believes that public libraries are underutilized partners in delivering health literacy education and that the key to seeing large scale improvements is to make the healthier choice the easier one to make. Erica will talk about the successes of including fitness classes and nutrition workshops at Catawba County libraries, and making health and wellness programming a required, measurable outcome for Library employees and for the Library as a whole.

Learn more and sign up at Partners in Public Health: Healthy People 2030 and the Role of Public Libraries in Promoting Health and Health Equity.

Key take-away’s from White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On Wednesday, September 28, the Biden-Harris Administration hosted the United States’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The Administration released a National Strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive solutions to these challenges.

The National Strategy is full of critical information relevant to the work of public librarians, including the following:

  • “State governments should offer free passes for children and/or families to state parks.” (p. 31) – This work is underway in America’s public libraries, including a program in Georgia that has been in existence for over a decade. Since its inception in 2008, the partnership between the Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has saved Georgians over $1 million in parking and admission fees, and has enabled more than 120,000 people to explore beautiful attractions across the state
  • “Food insecurity and weight gain increase during the summer months when children have limited access to school meals, particularly among Black and Latino children and children who are already at higher risk for obesity” (p. 9) – Public libraries were identified by conference participants as critical partners in efforts to increase access to food during summer months. Stacey McDaniel of the YMCA-USA shared how after-school & Summer Meals help ensure youth are fed nutritious meals during out of school time! Check out this partnership between YMCA & libraries in San Jose, California. Check out the inspiring video at Stacey’s tweet.
  • “Promote strategies for increasing participation in physical fitness programs and for incorporating physical activity in summer learning and engagement and after-school programs” (p. 30) – Public librarians increasingly incorporate physical fitness and physical activity into their programs for youth and families offered during the summer and when school is not in session. Let’s Move in Libraries is a testament to how this work is underway, across North America.
  • “The Biden-Harris Administration is working to create more parks, open spaces, and safe outdoor opportunities in nature-deprived communities” (p. 28) – The National League of Cities, in partnership with the Children & Nature Network, has been supporting public libraries in their efforts to create more parks, open spaces, and safe outdoor opportunities in nature-deprived communities. Learn more in their Nature Smart Library initiative.

What are your thoughts about how public libraries and public librarians can be part of answer to critical issues related to Hunger, Nutrition, and Health? Let us know!

Inspiring stories from Hickory, North Carolina and Apache Junction, Arizona

We’d like to thank Dacy Shute of the Hickory Public Library in North Carolina, and Megan Carbiener of the Apache Junction Public Library in Arizona for sharing these inspiring stories with us!

Dacy writes “We started the Hickory Hikers hiking club in partnership with our Hickory Parks & Recreation department in May, 2022. Once a month, we explore trails in City, County, and State parks in our area. Two of our hikes have been led by Catawba County Park Rangers and include outdoor education. We discuss trail safety, trail etiquette, and what to do in case of injury on the trail. We also learn about local fauna and flora including edible and poisonous plants. In partnership, the library has also hosted outdoor education classes in the library, such as a foraging workshop with a State Park Ranger.

We have seen a diverse turn out of people from our community who we have not seen at library programs before. Women who enjoy hiking have commented that they enjoy a group hike because they feel safer than hiking alone. The partnership with our city & county parks department has allowed people to learn about many services and amenities regarding the parks in our area that they did not know about before.  Our most successful hikes have been those led by Rangers.”

Thanks, Dacy!

Megan Carbiener writes “In 2021 we were excited to install a StoryWalk® at a nearby park complex, Prospector Park, in partnership with our Parks & Rec department. Our community has lovingly embraced the StoryWalk®, but to encourage more interest and participation we’re always looking to host StoryWalk® events. Thus, the StoryWalk® NightWalk was born! As the sun set, families were invited to join us for a night adventure at the park where they read the new story (A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman), walked the half mile StoryWalk® path, and even enjoyed a glow in the dark scavenger hunt and sidewalk chalk drawing space. Kids also received free Adventure Packs which were drawstring backpacks containing a flashlight, black light, invisible ink pen, black construction paper, sidewalk chalk, and a safari hat. The Arizona heat is still intense even in September, so this event was a great way to get families out of the house and moving in cooler night weather. The walk around the park and park play structures encouraged healthy living for everyone’s bodies, and the story supported learning, literacy, and healthy minds too.”

“The StoryWalk® has positively impacted our community since it opened, but the StoryWalk® NightWalk was specifically beneficial for our community because it gave them an excuse to get out of the house in the hot or stormy Arizona weather. Many parents thanked us for the event because they were looking for something positive and active to do with their families to get them out of the house. The event also helped our community and acted as a great outreach event because many families said they’d never been to that park before, or didn’t even know about the StoryWalk® until the event. We also heard from families who made meaningful connections through the event because they met other families with similar aged children and interests. The StoryWalk® and our NightWalk event have encouraged healthy living and given us a place to reach our community outside the library. The partnerships and connections made due to the StoryWalk® have not ceased to amaze us. We had an overwhelming turnout for our NightWalk, even with stormy weather right before the event, and it reinforced the fact that we need to continue to host more StoryWalk® programs for our community.”

Thanks, Megan!

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