Reading is healthy: Introducing the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Reading Club

Book clubs and reading groups are staples of library outreach and literacy efforts. In these groups, people gather to discuss Oprah’s picks or the New York Times’ best-sellers in an effort to socially engage with literature and current events.

To help grow health-related literacy, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network has announced the launch of the NNLM Reading Club. The goal is to support libraries’ health literacy efforts and address local communities’ health information needs by celebrating important National Health Observances through the fun and intimacy of a book club.

Screen cap from https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us

Screen cap from https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us

The NNLM Reading Club offers a selection of three different book titles along with corresponding free, ready-to-use materials designed to help promote and facilitate a book club discussion on a health issue or topic. It’s easy to download the discussion materials and direct patrons to the library’s book holdings. However, the NNLM is offering an added benefit.

Beginning Nov. 1, 2018, participating NNLM libraries are making the quarterly reading club picks available in a free, handy and portable book club kit. This program-in-a-box format includes eight copies of each of the following items: the selected book, discussion guide, MedlinePlus.gov flier, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, NIH All of Us Research Program brochure and additional materials in support of the selected health topic. All of these materials are tucked inside a handy library book bag and shipped to the requesting library.

Any U.S. library that is an organizational member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine is eligible to apply and to receive one NNLM Reading Club book kit from Nov. 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019. The good news is membership to the NNLM is free.  Due to the limited supply of federally-sponsored NNLM Reading Club book kits, libraries that support outreach to vulnerable populations receive priority status.

Click here to browse the November selections and download the ready-to-use materials or to order an NNLM Book Club kit from a participating region.

This post was submitted by Professional Development Office Supervisor Kara Cleveland.

Collaborative Summer Library Program annual meeting report

By now, you may be aware that the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is an organization that works together to develop a theme, slogan, artwork, manual, program ideas and incentives for public libraries nationwide with the goal of making it easier for those libraries to execute a top notch summer reading program, thus combating “summer slide” and bringing communities together.

But who is making all of those decisions? Each year, a group of representatives from all 50 states, plus several U.S. territories, gathers to discuss and vote on themes, slogans and general initiatives for the future of CSLP. The representatives are volunteers – a mixture of public librarians and youth services consultants at state libraries, like me. In April, I had the privilege of representing Indiana at the CSLP annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.

The 2018 meeting was an exciting one. The CSLP board of directors rolled out their strategic plan, which includes taking more control of the program’s artwork, manual development and printing services, among other aspects. Ultimately, this will result in more flexibility in what the organization can offer to libraries, and should result in better quality products.This plan will take several years to roll out and may not be immediately evident, but by the program year 2020 we hope to have made significant improvements.

The meeting this year also saw the announcement of some excellent allies and resources for summer 2019. Most notable was Starnet, who shared information about their STEM Activity Clearinghouse. This database is full of STEM activities and resources for libraries, including full program activity descriptions. Though summer 2018 has barely begun, next year’s space theme, “A Universe of Stories,” looks to be bursting with promise!

Upcoming CSLP themes:
2019: A Universe of Stories; space
2020: Imagine Your Story; fairy tales, mythology and fantasty
2021: Tails and Tales; animals
2022: All Together Now; unifying communities

In personal news, I’m pleased to announce that I was elected to be a member of the Collaborative Summer Library board of directors as a member-at-large. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to bring the voice of Hoosiers to the CSLP membership as we tackle the changing landscape of summer reading. I welcome your constructive suggestions for the program, and hope to see many of you when I roll out my 2019 CSLP trainings around the state this winter!

This blog post was written by Beth Yates, children’s consultant for the Indiana State Library.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Bourbon PL Director, Heather Barron_webI recently visited with Heather Barron, Director of the Bourbon Public Library. Bourbon Public Library is a lively branch bustling with activities. During the visit, I chatted with Heather about the library and the unique challenges and opportunities of working in a small branch; while talking, I found out about a wonderful program, 1000 books before kindergarten that they are involved with. This program helps to establish reading habits and comprehension for young readers.   Continue reading