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You would not expect to see the words ‘fitness’ and ‘library’ come up in the same sentence, yet you would be surprised to find out the correlation between the two. How can libraries help people be more involved in fitness? What are some successful examples of this synergy and how can libraries become involved?


To find the answers to these questions and others, tune in to episode six of the Princh Library Lounge! In this episode host Marc Lapointe is joined by Noah Lenstra and Jenn Carson, two experts in the relationship between libraries and fitness.

Many people are aware of the importance of fitness but do not necessarily think about its connection to libraries. So, how can libraries help with educating and getting people more involved in fitness?

Jenn kicks-off the conversation by sharing with us her experience as a yoga instructor at her library, starting a program for children which connected physical activities with learning exercises, helping the young ones with their communication skills and not only fitness. Jenn’s interest for physical literacy matured during her research for a master’s degree, when she discovered there was really no research done about physical literacy in libraries.

Noah sympathizes with Jenn’s enthusiasm and determination, mentioning that people like her, who are passionate about fitness and physical literacy, are the main drive for libraries to get more involved. Noah recalls the summer of 2016, when during the Rio Olympics, a collaborative library program named CSLP held a number of physical activity events aimed for both the youth and adult audiences. This example showcases that libraries are open to organize such activities at their location and such notions should be part of the conversation, yet sometimes the hardest part is starting that conversation.

For more information about this topic, please listen to episode 6 of the Princh Library Lounge!

What recommendations can you share that would help a library or library professionals who would like to take actionable steps towards making sure fitness is a focus at their library?

Jenn answer brings up the importance of first educating yourself about physical literacy and its importance as a first step. Statistics such as obesity rates and life expectancy of new generations are just two examples of possible topics to have a conversation with a library administrator in regard to supporting physical literacy programs at your library. Being armed with facts and examples will encourage your library to be a part of an already growing movement.

Jenn goes on to highlight her work with the New Brunswick public library system, which created a plan that requires libraries to run a movement based program at least once per year, before highlighting that librarians do not have to worry about being the ones to run the program, as there are passionate people in local communities who love sports and that are more than happy to be part of them.

Noah is in absolute agreement with Jenn’s points before going on to share one example he is fond of, where a library in South East Ohio encouraged their staff members to commute by bicycle, in order to support wellness and be eco-friendly. This initiative evolved throughout the community, and the library started checking out bicycles, which became a popular trend beyond just their county. Noah goes on to discuss another example, this time in North Carolina, where a library started lending their unused meeting rooms to exercise classes held initially for municipal employees before opening them for the public as well.

Another great example shared by Noah involved Jenn, who took the initiative to invite the local running club to start their meetings in front of her library. Noah goes on to say, by being open, you not only make people aware that the library wants to be a resource, but you also strike partnerships and become an ally which supports physical fitness and physical literacy.

 For more information about this topic, please listen to episode 6 of the Princh Library Lounge!