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.
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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.
With funding through ALA's Libraries Ready to Code, we collaborated with a community makerspace and the local Boys & Girls Club to offer coding programs at three locations.
In addition to the Boys & Girls Club and the community makerspace, we also held programs at the library. Participating students ranged from third grade through high school.
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.
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!
Madison Area Technical College Library hosted a caption contest in celebration of National Library Week using historical photos from the college’s archive collection. The photos, dating from the 1960s and 1970s, featured students and staff in our original campus library, complete with the era’s décor and styles.
Students were encouraged to create clever captions for the photos, with speech and thought bubbles added to each. We received 114 contest entries, and the winner was awarded a Kindle Fire HD and a $50 Amazon gift card.
In 2016-17 and 2017-18, Montclair Community Library hosted a YA Digital Book Trailer Contest for students in grades 9 through 12. Students read a YA book, then created and produced a trailer to inspire others to read the book. The trailers could be live action, animation or stop-action, with voiceover, music, narration and special effects.