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Access the tools, program ideas and primers you need to stay up-to- date on health literacy topics.

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Program Ideas

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.

The Path to Healthy Aging: Partnering with Aging Councils and Agencies

Older adults touching palms

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.

Libraries Help Each Other Address Food Insecurity through Programming

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.

Read to Swim

Girl wearing swim floaties. Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Read to Swim is a joint summer program with the Yukon Public Library and the local community pool that strives to get children familiar with the library space and reading during their break. It took place from July 6, 2018, through the end of August 2018.

After reading for one hour at the library, kids are given a voucher for free admission to the pool.

Learn to Skateboard: Partnering for Health and Exercise

Person riding on skateboard on road

The library can play a role in promoting healthy exercise and activities by sponsoring outdoor activities and lessons. One such activity my library has chosen to sponsor is skateboarding lessons for teens at our local skate park, simply called Learn to Skateboard.

A Range of Ages: Mixed-Age Play at the Library

Three young children browsing books on a table at an outdoor event.

If you spend any time on social media, especially if you follow other libraries, librarians or community groups, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about intergenerational programming. I have read news stories about daycare groups being integrated with seniors’ homes, or 20-somethings finding mentors (and roommates!) in older adults.

The Cooperative Extension System: Your Library’s Go-To Partner for Gardening, Nutrition, and Healthy Living Programming

Cutting board with vegetables

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. 

Pumpkin Carving & Seed Saving Extravaganza

Two children holding pumpkins

On Saturday, October 27, 2017, the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's public library, welcomed over 200 parents and children for our inaugural pumpkin carving party. We provided the pumpkins, carving tools and stencils.

We also used the event to introduce the joy and benefit of seed saving and our newest library initiative, the Berkshire Seed Library. We are hosting this event again on October 27, 2018.

March into Health

Man running outdoors

In the month of March, Activate Elgin’s March into Health programming, led by Gail Borden Public Library District, moves our whole community. In this celebration of National Nutrition Month, we facilitate more than 30 free wellness events for all ages and interests.

Health Programs through Partnerships: A Case Study

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! 

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