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

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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. 

Health Programs through Partnerships: A Case Study

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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! 

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

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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

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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.

Partnering with Your Local Health Department

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Stethoscope wrapped around a stack of books

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.

Don’t Do It All Yourself: Creating Health Fairs through Partnerships

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People at a healthy-eating event

Last month the Bellwood-Antis Public Library, located in a small town in central Pennsylvania, held its 12th annual Family Health and SafetyFair. Several hundred attendees turned out on a Saturday for a Run for Reading 5K, children's Zumba, a demonstration by local firefighters, health screenings and informational booths for health services like organ donation and kidney health.

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