The September 2023 newsletter of Let’s Move in Libraries includes:

  • An update on the I Partner with My Public Library Award
  • The final release of Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library Toolkit
  • A summary of the August Birds of a Feather conversation and an invitation to join us in September
  • A free ready-to-print bilingual StoryWalk with active learning prompts
  • An inspiring story from Ohio

This month’s featured image comes from Virginia, where in August Floyd County’s Jessie Peterman Memorial Library was recognized by the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) as an outstanding Achievement Award winner in the Health and Human Services category for its exceptional community partnership, the Floyd Free Fridge.

VACo received 135 submissions, showcasing the remarkable efforts made by counties across Virginia to address various challenges faced by their communities. Congratulations to the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library for its award!

The Floyd Free Fridge initiative was established in collaboration with the local food pantry, Plenty Farm and Food bank, and with the generous support of a valued library patron. It has become a beacon of hope and support in the fight against rural food insecurity, according to a news release about the award. The initiative have strengthened the bond between the library and its community, fostering an environment of collaboration and support. Congratulations!

Let’s Move in Libraries loves seeing libraries recognized by non-library entities! Has your library received an award like this one? Let us know!

An update on the I Partner with My Public Library Award

We are thrilled to share that so far we’ve received 45 submissions for the inaugural I Partner with My Public Library Award! Submissions close September 1, and we invite nominations up to the deadline. If you miss this year’s call for nomination, don’t worry, we are making this an annual award to celebrate the power of community partnerships!

Final decisions will be made on October 1, 2023, with a public awards ceremony occurring on November 3 at 3 pm Eastern online in Zoom. The awards ceremony will be recorded. Awardees will also be publicly celebrated on the Let’s Move in Libraries webpage. Register now for the awards ceremony. More information will be shared in early October.

Here are excerpts from some of the nominations we received in August:

  • “Together, we create a holistic community ecosystem that promotes residents’ well-being on physical, mental, and social levels. This partnership stands as a remarkable example of how collaboration between community organizations and public institutions can foster positive and lasting impacts within a community.”
  • “To commemorate Juneteenth this year, [Public Library] sponsored its annual festival on the grounds of the library and neighboring aquatics center. The festival was a success due to [partner], who helped us to coordinate a Community Parade for our Juneteenth Celebration. Through networking and established relationships, we were able to bring together many local organizations, neighborhood residents, and our very own City Councilman. It was truly a sight to see, watching the dozens of people coming up the street, chanting to the rhythm of drums.”

Thanks to all who submitting nominations!

We can’t wait to publicly celebrate these amazing community collaborators this November!

The final release of our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library Toolkit

As August ends so too does our three-year project funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services focused on understanding how public libraries work with others to support healthy eating and active living, or HEAL.

One part of this project involved creating a toolkit to help public librarians work more collaboratively with others.

The Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library Toolkit was given a soft launch at a public event in April, and was then edited into its final form.

We invite you to download the toolkit and try it out in your community!

Download the Toolkit as a pdf file

Access the toolkit as an interactive webpage

We’d love your feedback on this endeavor!

Even though this project ends, the work continues! We look forward to continuing to celebrate and support the amazing work public library workers do in collaboration with their communities!

An invitation to our next Birds of a Feather online conversation

Want to join a community of public library workers and partners interested in the topics celebrated by Let’s Move in Libraries? Join us in our monthly Birds of a Feather conversation series.

Beginning in February 2023, we host monthly one-hour Birds of a Feather online conversation. The next event will be September 20. Join us for an inspiring, engaging, open and lively conversation.

What is a Birds of a Feather conversation? It’s an opportunity for individuals with shared interests to gather together (birds of a feather flock together) to share resources, inspire one another, and generally build community.

These events are never recorded so that all participants can share freely. Join us!

During our August 2023 conversation, we had a wide-ranging conversation on everything from partnering with Parks agencies to starting community gardens to addressing food insecurity. Here are some of the resources participants shared:

Food related resources

Fresh Conversations at Urbandale Public Library with the Health Department

Readers to Eaters

September is Food literacy month

October is Farm to School month

National Pickle Day is November 14th

Parks and garden partnerships

List of grants for youth educational garden projects

Storytime in the Parks: A state-wide partnership in Ohio

Wild Bird Walk and Talk – This program is presented through a partnership between Hickory Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism and Hickory Public Library.

The Garland County Library is revitalizing the property between the library & the RIX Professional Building by adding a community garden, park, & outdoor programming area

School Library Journal 6/23 articles on libraries & Garden

In addition to sharing resources, participants shared ideas and supported one another in their initiatives!

Join us September 20 for our next Birds of a Feather online conversation.

A free ready-to-print bilingual StoryWalk with active learning prompts

Everyone is welcome to turn any book they own into a StoryWalk® as long as they do not alter the pages. It can be nice, though, to have ready-to-print StoryWalk pages that include activity prompts.

We’re thrilled to share that I’m Your Neighbor Books is partnering with the publisher Child’s Play Inc. and the nonprofit Welcoming America to offer a free StoryWalk designed to create conversations on immigrant welcoming and belonging.

Learn more at the Bienvenida e integración/Welcoming & Belonging StoryWalk® webpage.

The image to the left illustrates what this ready-to-print StoryWalk looks like.

I’m Your Neighbor Books and Welcoming America are two nonprofits that care deeply about creating spaces where immigrants are welcomed and where we all belong. I’m Your Neighbor Books does this work with children’s book engagement and has long admired the Spanish/English bilingual picture book Nieve en la jungla/Snow in the Jungle. The book explores the emotions of the character Nieve/Snow who has migrated to a new place, language, culture, and (hopefully!) to a new group of friends. Each of the Bienvenida e integración/Welcoming & Belonging StoryWalk® signs has not only a page from the book; but also a bilingual conversation starter.

Welcoming America encourages you to use the Bienvenida e integración/Welcoming & Belonging StoryWalk® in your Welcoming Week celebrations and throughout the year!

Child’s Play Inc. gave generous permission to use this title as a StoryWalk and Banacom Sign designed the StoryWalk signage.

We thank the organizers for sharing this great project with us!

Learn more and download this StoryWalk title today!

An inspiring story from Ohio

We want to thank Mary Meixner from the Ashland Public Library in Ohio for sharing the following inspires story. Share your story to be featured in a future newsletter and on our website!

“Our Junior Naturalist Club has supported healthy living by getting kids outside and engaged with nature. Twice this summer we hosted a stream exploration activity for participants. We learned about reptiles, amphibians, macroinvertebrates, and freshwater ecosystems. The kids had a blast catching crayfish and searching for salamanders and whatever else we could find. After spending most of the time in the stream, the kids were able to draw some of the critters we found in their nature journals before returning them to the stream.

We have received a lot of positive feedback about this program! Parents appreciate that it offers opportunities for kids of different ages to engage with nature. The kids themselves have really embraced the nature journaling and it is amazing to see what they choose to focus on in their drawing and writing, whether it is drawing an animal we saw or drawing how they imagined a giant tree fell over. Sometimes, a kid comes to the club who seems very quiet and shy; but then, we go outside and that child comes alive!”

Thanks for sharing, Mary!!

Share your story with Let’s Move in Libraries! We’d love to feature you in a future newsletter and on our webpage.

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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 HEAL (Healthy Eating & Active Living) programs and services in public libraries. Also follow the project on FacebookInstagramYouTube, 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 activities.