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.
This year's event was planned by a committee of four people: The PR director at the Tyrone Regional Health Network, the director of the Northern Blair County Recreation Center, my coworker and myself. We divvied up who was going to contact which vendors, and the only other thing we needed to do was get people to agree to come and get some extra tables. (See the list of participating organizations under Attachments at right.)
I just started working at this library in September, so this was my first time planning the fair, but I had attended in past years. I was surprised by how easily it came together, considering how elaborate it seemed as a spectator.
Bellwood-Antis Public Library does not pay for marketing. A lot of the radio stations do free nonprofit events on-air, and local newspapers will run event listings.
Facebook has been a real boon to the budget-minded community library because it provides so many outreach opportunities we didn’t have before. We put the event  on our Facebook, and that's how most people heard about it.
We didn't spend any money, but we could not have done this without the Tyrone Regional Health Network and the Northern Blair County Recreation Center.
We set out tables on Thursday evening, organizing them by topic. The kid-oriented offerings went in our children’s room, most of the health screenings were in one room, and the community organizations offering information were in another room.
We offered set-up times on two days. Some vendors came on Friday, but most came at around 8 a.m. on Saturday to set up their materials the morning of the event.
The 5K started at 8 a.m., and once the fair started at 10 a.m., library staff just circulated around, thanking people for coming and making sure their needs were being met.
A couple hundred people attended this year, which was lower than usual. This may have been because it was a little earlier this year; usually we offer the fair in March, but this year was in mid-February. The time of year affected the 5K too. They had 50 runners, which is a little lower than usual.
Overall, we had a great variety of vendors, with the ones offering health screenings for cholesterol, blood glucose, hearing, vertigo and other ailments being most popular. The fair has helped us build stronger relationships with other organizations, and some are returning to the library to offer programs for the community. DaVita Kidney Health will present a program in March on kidney care, and in April an area Lyme Disease support group will do a program on preventing Lyme Disease.
The week of the event I heard some people say they hadn’t heard about the fair this year, so I think that next year I need to not lean on Facebook so heavily and do more community outreach or canvassing.
I would stress to my fellow librarians the necessity of getting help from a local hospital and/or community center, as well as local organizations dedicated to health and safety. The intent of the fair was to bring people together at the library in the interest of educating them about health and safety, but the relationship-building that has happened over the past 12 years is what has kept the fair going.
About This Library
Bellwood-Antis Public Library was founded by a group of citizens in 1965 and now boasts 2,168 registered patrons.