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Libraries Help Each Other Address Food Insecurity through Programming

nlenstra's picture
Children eating lunch

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.

Health Programs through Partnerships: A Case Study

nlenstra's picture
Woman rolling up yoga mat

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! 

Roll-n-Read

Children listening to storytime

Our library has partnered with our local Wood River Parks and Recreation Department to offer a weekly children's program for kids (ages 5 and younger) that combines gymnastics and motor skills with literacy.

The library provides staff and a story for storytime; the parks department provices the gymnastics equipment and space for the little ones to play. 

DLD Health Literacy Initiative

X-ray

The Connecticut State library's Health Library Initiative is one of the our Division of Library Development (DLD) Strategic Focus Plan "Seven Literacies" — a key element of the Division's LSTA Five Year Plan. The initiative consists of strategic partnerships; ongoing health webinar offerings; professional development workshops, and online health and wellness resources.

Nourishing a Community: Mechanicville Farmers Market, Garden & Orchard

A booth at the Farmers Market

In June 2017, the Mechanicville District Public Library kicked off a community farmers market on the library’s front lawn. Throughout the summer, on Mondays from 4 to 7 p.m., hundreds of people came to stock up on vegetables, pasta, eggs, honey and other goods from local farms.

For a community with a 16.3 percent poverty rate, a market delivering fresh, local goods at affordable prices was a game-changer, and it also gave local farms an opportunity to sell their products.

Tales and Travel

Tales and Travel banner, man reading

Through Tales and Travel, the Gail Borden Public Library seeks to reach a stigmatized population: older adults with early- to mid-stage dementia. This monthly “excursion,” offered at 17 assisted-living facilities in the region by the end of 2017, takes participants on an imaginary trip to another country or region of the United States using library materials (e.g. books, music and objects).

Wellness Wednesdays in Winterset: Lunch & Learns and More!

Selfie of participants in walking group

Winterset is a community of 5,120 in central Iowa, about 40 miles outside Des Moines. Since 2011, a number of our local organizations have collaborated to present Wellness Wednesdays in Winterset, a program series that strives to improve the health and wellness of our residents. Programs run from early May to late October and are free of charge and open to all ages.

Summit Fitbit Cohorts

Activity tracker

The Science & Technology Division of the Akron Summit County Public Library developed and implemented a program to loan out wearable fitness trackers to low-income residents in the city of Akron. This program sought to get residents more active and also teach them about library health resource, so participants were required to attend two training sessions on National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources.

Advertising, Marketing & Making Connections

lishizaka's picture
Boomers and Beyond logo

When Palos Verdes Library District was charged with creating a large-scale, grant-funded program series for older adults, we knew we would have to be at the top of our marketing game. After all, big programs call for big marketing. 

As much as we love fliers and posters, we knew that this time, they weren't going to meet our marketing needs. Your marketing plan really needs to match the size and amount of programming you’re doing, and it needs to be tailored to the audience you're trying to reach.

Get a Jump on Spring with Gardening Programs at Your Library

nlenstra's picture
hands holding soil with plant growing out of it

For public libraries and community partners across North America, February is prime time for gardening programs. There are many types of gardening programs you can offer, and many partners you can work with to develop them. 

A quick survey of the gardening programs being offering this February and March in North America reveals that libraries are offering:

Partnerships: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

lishizaka's picture
A man and a woman shake hands over a table

Our last blog post — in which we assessed our community's needs and set out to create a health and wellness program series for older adults — ended with a good idea, lots of enthusiasm ... and approximately zero dollars. How were we going to fund this fantastic smorgasbord of health, wealth and self-care program opportunities for the 55-and-older crowd on the Peninsula?

Chair Yoga / Exercise Ball Class

Women sitting in chairs in a row with their arms raised, exercising.

This class, the first of its kind at our library, began in early 2016 at the suggestion of a patron. We meet twice a week in our library's community room from 8:15 to 9 a.m.

Our instructor is a patron who volunteers to conduct the classes. We follow a set regime of exercises that are good for joints and building strength. Both men and women typically attend this class.

Active Kids

A poster that reads "Hey Elementary Kids!" and has information on a volleyball activity.

Active Kids is a program designed to get elementary-age kids moving. Once a month, a volunteer comes to the library to teach the kids different ways of getting active through activites such as yoga, karate and softball.

Storytime in the Orchard

Woman reading outside to a crowd

Storytime in the Orchard is an all-ages storytime hosted by Boyertown Community Library and Frecon Farms. It is held outdoors on Thursdays at 9 a.m. from mid-June through October, weather permitting.

This program enhances awareness of local agriculture, provides a family experience of nature and boosts health literacy while having fun.

Hospitals & Health Care Systems: Natural Partners for Library Health Programming

nlenstra's picture
Red stethoscope with red felt heart on turquoise background

Health care systems and hospitals can be the best partners you can have for health programming. Public libraries in the U.S. have worked with hospitals to offer everything from bike safety programs to healthy cooking classes to fun, engaging hand hygiene games.

Parks & Rec: A Health Programming Partner

nlenstra's picture
A young girl playing with bubbles in a park

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.

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