The Volusia County Public Library System is offering more than 100 health programs in October.
In recognition of Health Happens in Libraries month, the Volusia County Public Library System is holding more than 100 health programs across its branches in October — an initiative that's been in place in the county since 2013.
The programs and classes offered vary at each library, but they include tai chi and yoga classes, exercise and nutrition programs and health-themed informational workshops. According to a statement by Lucinda Colee, Volusia County director of library services, Health Happens in Libraries is meant to magnify the role of public libraries as key contributors to community health. It also serves to acknowledge the "growing intersection of digital technologies and individual health management" and ways for local libraries to
provide access to health education.
Regional Librarian Suzan Howes said in an email to the Ormond Beach Observer that the health initiative began when local librarians noticed news articles about the increased number of poor health habits in the county. She added that librarians want to send the message that libraries are a place to find all kinds of information, health included. Throughout the year, not just during October, libraries provide health programs like chair yoga, art therapy and crafts.
"It's very important to encourage healthy lifestyles," Howes said. "We want all our citizens to be happy and healthy!"
The librarians in each branch select the programs for the initiative based on the surrounding community's specific needs or interests, Howes explained. As the needs and interests change over the years, so do the library's programs. While not every program will be offered at all the branches, Howes said your local library can help direct you to what you need.
"Traditionally, programs by health care professionals about popular topics have been well attended," Howes said. "Movement and exercise classes, where citizens can try out a new activity and blood pressure screening, have been popular."
The Health Happens in Libraries program was launched nationally in 2013 by organizations WebJunction and ZeroDivide but formally ended in 2016, though resources are still available for libraries wishing to continue the program.