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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. 

Breaking through the Busy: Tips for Getting the Students Who Already Do Everything

klewallen's picture
Students sitting around a lunch table

“Students are too busy nowadays.” I’m sure we’ve all heard it. So here are a few tips — from my own experience and crowdsourced from other very helpful librarians — to break through the haze of busy-ness and reach students.

Creative Engagement with Youth

Continuous Line Monster art project

This six-session pilot program encourages creativity — and interest in library services — for elementary- and middle school-aged children through open-ended art projects such as Watercolor Resist Paintings and Continuous Line Monsters.

We offered this program in collaboration with the organization Phoenix Family, which provided us with access to their existing after-school program and art supplies.

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.

Can-Unity

Model of building, made from canned and non-perishable foods

On Saturday, July 22, we hosted a Can-Unity building event to wrap up our summer library program. The summer's theme was architecture, so we thought it was fitting to end with a community building event.

The night before, local organizations created incredible structures made entirely from cans, boxes and bags of nonperishable food items. Participating organizations gathered and donated all of the food that was used in building their structures.

College & Me

Students taking notes in class

College & Me is a multi-series offering — provided in partnership with the local Utah State University Extension office — that provides a comprehensive view of how individuals can prepare to attend college. Open to teens and adults, the class covers basic steps to searching for scholarships and financial aid, along with some application tips and FAFSA best practices.

A Tale of Two Organizations: Talking about Affordable Housing on the Lower East Side

nypl's picture
graphic of city buildings

A brief look at the history of New York City’s Lower East Side (LES) reveals that this little patch of land has always been an area ripe for intense debate. The portrayal of the neighborhood in books, film and other media is constant — the romance, horrors and bitter struggles. The LES is a place of rare historical significance, a community that has inspired generations of activists, radicals, advocates and new Americans to envision a better future.

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:

Swap It Like It's Hot

woman holding jeans

Swap It Like It’s Hot is a free clothes-swap program aimed at adult patrons. Patrons bring along their gently-used clothing and receive tokens. They use their tokens to swap for others' items. All remaining clothes after the swap are donated to the city mission. 

The library also offered sewing and upcycling workshops in collaboration with Conscious Layers, a local organization that works to popularize the re-use of fashion.

See What I'm Saying

Three children sitting down and looking at books

See What I’m Saying was a children’s program that promoted reading, writing and public speaking skills in students in kindergarten through grade 5.

The program took place on Saturday mornings over a nine-week period at our county’s Civic Center (since the library doesn’t allow food). At each session, kids were invited select a book, read the book, write a brief report about it, and share their report out loud to a group.

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?

Partnering with Academic Institutions for Health and Wellness Programming

nlenstra's picture
Group of people walking toward a campus building

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.

Big Programs, Little Budget: Forging Community Partnerships in a Small Town

Meservey, Iowa, is tiny — fewer than 250 residents —  and the library’s budget is tight. Despite this, the Meservey Public Library has managed to triple its program attendance in the past few years and create many memorable, budget-friendly events. 

Drawing on her experience as director of the Meservey Public Library, Chelsea Price will share ideas for hosting "big" programs on a small budget and discuss how partnerships can be an invaluable resource for programming. 

Participants of this session will:

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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