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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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.
Extreme Hide-and-Seek is a building-wide hide-and-seek competition for teens that takes place after the library is closed. It is a high-energy, fun-filled program that is a big hit with teens. It can be expanded or modified depending on the size of your library, takes minimal planning and is very low cost! We offered it as part of Afterhours, a regular Friday evening teen program.
This interactive program introduced adults to healthy cooking techniques and free online health information resources from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) through a series of three two-hour cooking demonstrations. The project targeted people with obesity, diabetes and other weight-management concerns.
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.
The Family Health and Safety Fair is an event for the whole community. We offer a Run for Reading 5K, children's Zumba, a demonstration by local firefighters, screenings for cholesterol and seven other kinds of ailments, as well as informational booths for health services such as organ donation and kidney health.
Our 12th annual health fair and 5K were offered on Feb. 17, 2018.
Since many older adult patrons can't make it to Coventry Public Library's in-house programs, we decided to offer both a senior fitness class and a chair yoga class at the Coventry Housing Authority, which is conveniently located near the senior living center. We run the classes twice a week for six weeks, and the seniors are always begging for more!
At the height of Summer Reading Club (SRC) or during an autumn back-to-school heat wave, sometimes the best thing to do is take the kids outside and hose them down — that will get the fidgets out! (Kidding!)
But seriously, throwing water balloons at people or targets is extremely therapeutic. I asked my SRC leader, Ebony Scott, to come up with a program called Water Games. My only stipulations were (1) that it not wet any of the books and (2) that it have a reasonable budget. (If only we could afford giant Nerf Super Soakers for everyone.)
Teens and tweens are invited to the library during its closed hours to play team laser tag. They are divided into two teams and take turns using laser phasers (purchased from Amazon) to play the game.
Every day, thousands of children and teens all over the country and the world are bullied by their peers. These victims — who have been judged to have some weakness, perceived as somehow abnormal or lacking, or who are just a tiny bit different — are vulnerable to not only day-to-day torment but life-changing and decades-long repercussions.