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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

Programs for Maternal Health

Mom laying down holding baby over her head on a yoga mat.

While attending the Next Library Conference in Berlin in September 2018 I showed up for an interactive session called "Library Story-Times and Maternal Mental Health." The talk was led by a library assistant from Essex Libraries in the U.K. and two researchers from the firm Shared Intelligence. I was curious about how storytimes could benefit new mothers, especially given my own experience as a new mom.

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.

Pop-Up Tea Library

Pop-up Tea Library

In early December, the University Library at Sonoma State (SSU) collaborated with the student-run SSU Tea Club to help students de-stress as they headed into the most stressful time of the semester.

Offered during Sonoma State's so-called "Dead Week," the week before finals, the Pop-Up Tea Library comforted library visitors with free steaming mugs of tea, Monday through Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Partnering with Academic Institutions for Health and Wellness Programming

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.

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.

General Info

Glossaries