Library Wellness Challenge

by Amy Schroeder Ireland | Apr 09, 2010
1 read | 14 Comments
Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Challenge I: Ideas for Addressing Obesity in Minnesota competition.

Summary:

The Hamline Midway Library Association (HMLA) will partner with the Hamline Midway branch of the St. Paul Public Libraries to provide new and innovative ways to address the health of the community. We believe we can address obesity in Minnesota by utilizing our libraries as community gathering spots to host health and wellness related events and by bolstering the collection of health and wellness materials available for check-out.

The HMLA will sponsor a Wellness Challenge. The Challenge will include monthly health and wellness events at the library. Each quarter, the event will include a ‘Challenge Check-In,’ during which health-care workers will be available to check participants’ health and wellness indicators, such as weight, blood-pressure, body mass index. Each participant will receive a Wellness Journal to record health and wellness goals and progress.

Experts in selected areas of health or nutrition will present monthly on relevant topics at the library. The expert will be asked to profile different books, CDs, DVDs or other media that will help participants learn more about the topic. The recommended books or other media will then be added to the library’s collection.

Individuals will form and join Challenge Groups that will meet on a weekly basis to pursue health and wellness related activities – biking, yoga, healthy cooking, physical games for kids, or whatever activity helps its members meet their health and wellness goals. Group activities, meeting times and locations will be made public so that new participants can join at any time.

First Name

Amy Schroeder

Last Name

Ireland

About You

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First Name

Amy Schroeder

Last Name

Ireland

Country

United States, MN

City

Country

United States, MN

City

About You

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About Your Organization

Organization Name

Hamline Midway Library Association

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

Your idea

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Name your idea

Library Wellness Challenge

Describe your idea

The Hamline Midway Library Association (HMLA) will partner with the Hamline Midway branch of the St. Paul Public Libraries to provide new and innovative ways to address the health of the community. We believe we can address obesity in Minnesota by utilizing our libraries as community gathering spots to host health and wellness related events and by bolstering the collection of health and wellness materials available for check-out.
The HMLA will sponsor a Wellness Challenge. The Challenge will include monthly health and wellness events at the library. Each quarter, the event will include a ‘Challenge Check-In,’ during which health-care workers will be available to check participants’ health and wellness indicators, such as weight, blood-pressure, body mass index. Each participant will receive a Wellness Journal to record health and wellness goals and progress.
Experts in selected areas of health or nutrition will present monthly on relevant topics at the library. The expert will be asked to profile different books, CDs, DVDs or other media that will help participants learn more about the topic. The recommended books or other media will then be added to the library’s collection.
Individuals will form and join Challenge Groups that will meet on a weekly basis to pursue health and wellness related activities – biking, yoga, healthy cooking, physical games for kids, or whatever activity helps its members meet their health and wellness goals. Group activities, meeting times and locations will be made public so that new participants can join at any time.

How do you define your "community"?

All people who live, work, worship, or go to school in the Hamline Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, and all former, current and future patrons of the Hamline Midway Library.

Tell us how you think the issue of obesity is affecting your community

Obesity is affecting the most vulnerable members of our community – children and elders – in some very serious ways.

The school nurse at our neighborhood elementary school reports seeing many children with diagnoses of diabetes and asthma at earlier ages. Ethnic background and poverty both correlate with higher rates for obesity-related health problems. Children in our school are at particular risk, as the school’s ethnic make-up is 1% American Indian, 49 % Asian, 6 % Hispanic, and 36 % African-American, and 93% of students at the school qualify for free or reduced lunch.

On the other end of the age-spectrum, the Hamline Midway Elders program serves community residents over age sixty. The program reports that some of the residents whom they serve have limited mobility, balance and strength, COPD, stroke, knee problems, and/or diabetes complications in part due to obesity and sedentary lifestyles. These health conditions necessitate important interventions including hospitalizations, temporary or permanent nursing home stays, physical therapy, and expensive homecare earlier rather than later. The same factors put these elders risk for falls, nursing home placement, and more.

The program also receives many calls from people in their 50s already having serious chronic health problems such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, and other obesity-related conditions making their daily functioning difficult. While the Hamline Midway Elders grant funding mandates that the group focus on those 60+, the group is concerned that there seems to be a lack of support and social services for these “older young.”

Why should your idea be selected?

The Hamline Midway Library has the highest percentage of patrons who walk or bike to the library of any of the St. Paul Public Library branches. Members of our community are already putting individual efforts into improving our collective health. The Hamline Midway Library is currently the location for free weekly yoga classes (provided volunteer yoga instructor). The Midway Movement Arts program is planning a kids’ yoga story-time at the Hamline Midway Library, and will offer free yoga and meditation/relaxation classes in a neighborhood park (by volunteers).

We hope to formally coordinate these and other neighborhood groups and organizations with health and wellness objectives (gardening groups, school groups, etc.) under the umbrella of the Wellness Challenge, and bring these groups together at the library. Groups will be invited to ‘sponsor’ weekly Challenge Groups so that individual members can track their wellness goals in a more organized and formal way, and can better measure their health outcomes.

This idea can easily be adapted to any community in Minnesota. Every community has a library. Every library already carries some books on nutrition, fitness, health and wellness. Every library has space where lectures and activities can take place, and where participants can store their Wellness Journals. By focusing efforts on increasing library collections in the areas of health and wellness, and creating a central location for health and wellness activities that are free and visibly open to the public, we believe that all Minnesota communities can improve their collective health.

Great idea! I love the

by Randi Johnson | Apr 09, 2010
 

Great idea! I love the concept of a challenge. A little competition is a great way to get people working hard!

Fantastic!

by Melissa Embser-Herbert | Apr 10, 2010
 

What a great idea - bringing together health/wellness for people and for the library! Rock on!

Love the library!

by Megan Powers | Apr 13, 2010
 

Hi Amy! Nice to see you on the Idea Open. It's been a while! I think it's great to involve the libraries as a resource in this way. Good idea!

Check out my hubby's entry ("The Yum Mobile" by Drew Mons on 4/8) and let us know what you think. Take care!

Library Wellness Challenge

by Andrea Dana | Apr 20, 2010
 

Getting healthy is all about educating people, so partnering with the library on this goal is a smart idea. The library has the education materials and the space to give people the "classroom," and it's right in neighborhoods where people can get to it easily. Great plan!

Making connections

by Mike Reynolds | Apr 20, 2010
 

I agree--this is an excellent way to utilize the library's role in the neighborhood at the intersections of education and community action, as a primary location for connecting with ideas and with one another.

These folks speak my mind

by Dhaivyd Hilgendorf | Apr 20, 2010
 

Andrea and Mike speak my mind. I think this project could be very successful in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood. You are what you eat...and what you read, too! It has potential for collaboration with the LIST annual health fair for the Hamline-Midway community as well as the Hamline Midway Block Nurse program.

The wonderful thing about the

by Carrie Pomeroy | Apr 20, 2010
 

The wonderful thing about the library as a community fitness node is that it is already serving all the people you'd want involved in this--low-income people, elders, children and families, immigrants, and everybody else you can possibly name. This would make it easy to start serving the community and implementing the idea immediately.

Library Wellness Challenge

by Sara Bogie | Apr 20, 2010
 

I think that the library is already used as a community center and that all segments of the population feel comfortable visiting and using the library. So it makes a perfect fit for a challenge that is so broad reaching and that the library would also make it so inclusive.

I agree with many of the

by Sarah Carter | Apr 20, 2010
 

I agree with many of the comments so far. The Hamline Midway Community Library is already very good at reaching out to the neighborhood so would be the perfect host for this program.

Connect up!

by Jun-Li Wang | Apr 20, 2010
 

This is wonderful! I hope you can also connect to groups that have overlapping interests - like Midway Movement Arts Project - they're hosting free yoga at Newell Park on Saturdays, and maybe they would be able to provide some of the health activities. Maybe Mighty Midway Storytellers could do health-focused story times. I'd make healthy snacks for you too...