Most people think of libraries as places for quiet contemplation. But it turns out libraries today are not just places where people can go to read and check out books—they’re increasingly becoming community hubs where families can access a wide variety of activities and resources to be physically and mentally active.
In this month’s podcast, Active for Life editor-in-chief Richard Monette talks with Noah Lenstra, an assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, about the evolving role of libraries in society, and some examples of initiatives librarians have launched to get people of all ages and abilities moving.
Lenstra studies and teaches about community engagement in libraries, and in 2016 he launched Let’s Move In Libraries, an international initiative to transform libraries into active cultural and community hubs to access services as well as books.
To really get people moving, it’s not enough for one institution to be responsible for it. It has to be a distributed effort in which different institutions come together to make a difference.
As Lenstra explains in the podcast, many libraries today are introducing programs like CrossFit, snowshoeing, and capoeira. They allow members to check out passes to the local YMCA or museums, as well as sports equipment and activity kits to make sure money is no longer a barrier for families to become physically active.
Listen to the podcast to find out more about how libraries are evolving from places to hold books to platforms for lifelong learning and community engagement.