The YMCA of the USA is “a leading nonprofit organization for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility” that includes approximately 2,700 local entities that together engage 21 million Americans. They are also the perfect partner for any public library interested in developing health and wellness programs.
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Sa-de Brown is a library assistant at Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library and a participant in Cohort 2 of the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries trainings.
"Life is a journey, not a destination." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
In this blog series, we’ve talked about all aspects of Boomers and Beyond, a large-scale, grant-funded program series for Baby Boomers at the Palos Verdes Library District — from deciding which grant to apply for based on our community’s needs, to owning our failures, to getting people to show up for our 36 programs.
When I started as library director in the tiny town of Meservey, I never thought we would be able to pull off large-scale programs like libraries in big cities did. Those types of programs aren’t in our budget, and it’s hard enough getting good attendance at our smaller events. The payoff, I figured, probably wouldn’t be worth all of the money and time spent.
I am thrilled to admit that I was wrong, and that tiny libraries like mine can, in fact, have big events that are just as successful as a library 10 times their size.
Through its full-time youth health and program coordinator position, the City of Harker Heights (Texas) Stewart C. Meyer Public Library is working to infuse health and wellness into all of its programming.
Destinee Barton stepped into this new role in September 2018 after earning her bachelor’s degree in community health from Texas Woman’s University. I recently talked with Destinee, along with Library Director Lisa Youngblood and Children's Librarian Amanda Hairton, about how this new position emerged, what impacts it has had, and where they see it heading.
Corning Public Library serves a town of 1,500 in southwest Iowa. There's not a lot in Corning; we are the largest town in our county, the nearest city is a 90-minute drive away.
The library is especially important in communities like ours, as we provide programming that both entertains and inspires. Hosting an Amazing Race program allowed us to entertain our patrons while showing them that they don’t have to travel to find interesting things to do with their friends and families.
In our tiny library, we are forced to think hard about every financial decision we make. Can we afford to book that pricey performer for our summer reading program? Should we be subscribing to magazines if only a couple of people are reading them? Do we need to have snacks at every event? Every dollar counts, and we must stretch that dollar as far as we possibly can, particularly when it comes to programming.
Last fall, we attended the School Library Journal Leadership Summit in Brooklyn, N.Y. The theme of the conference was “Make Good Trouble.” During that whirlwind weekend of learning, we attended a breakout session with Cicely Lewis, the school librarian who started the movement known as Read Woke.
According to an article Ms. Lewis wrote for School Library Journal, woke books:
When we were planning our large-scale, grant-funded health and wellness series for older adults, we knew we wanted to reach beyond our usual program attendees, and that meant trying a new location. Our tai chi program seemed like a good place to start.