Nonprofits are everywhere. Wherever you are located, it's likely that there are numerous nonprofit organizations at work in your community that you've never even heard of. In 2009, the Hayward (Calif.) Public Library merged with another city department and took on the city's community grants program. They found that in this city of 150,000 there are over 2,000 nonprofit organizations!
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Together, Area Agencies on Aging and Councils on Aging constitute the public infrastructure designed to support America’s older adults. As such, they are natural partners for public libraries seeking to develop programs that lead communities “on the path to healthy aging,” as the ALA Health Literacy Toolkit puts it.
In September, I had the opportunity to attend both the annual Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) and the biennial Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) conferences. For me, the major take-away from both events is that libraries can help each other develop programs that address food insecurity.
The Cooperative Extension System, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, exists to “encourage healthful lifestyles” by providing “non-formal education and learning activities to people throughout the country.” It emerged hand-in-hand with the land-grant university system and, over time, evolved from a focus on agricultural education in rural areas (4-H is part of the extension system) to a broader focus on health and food in both urban and rural parts of the country.
New research by a San Jose State University scholar finds that most health programs offered by a major U.S. public library system are developed through community partnerships. San Jose Public Library not only works with partners to develop programs offered at the library, they also participate in regional health campaigns. Keep reading to learn how they do it, and to get inspired to try something new at your library!
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 4,360 colleges and the universities in the United States. More likely than not, there is a college or university close to you — and partnering with them is a great way to bring high-quality health and wellness programming to your library.
Each year, one Sunday in late April is National ParkRX Day. This day celebrates the “the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health.” National ParkRX Day builds upon the U.S. Surgeon General’s call to promote walking and walkable communities. Americans need to move more, and parks are the perfect place for that.
Public health professionals focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and on protecting and improving the health of families and communities. Nearly every community in the U.S. has a local public health department or some other regional health agency. According to the National Association of County and City Health Officials, there are nearly 3,000 local health departments across the country.