Get Your Community Moving: Physical Literacy Programs for All Ages

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By helping patrons view the library in a new way, movement-based programs bring new people into libraries, help promote community health, and stimulate literacy for children and adults alike. And the data show that they work: nearly 90% of public libraries said their movement-based programs had brought new users into their libraries, according to a recent study, while 80% said the programs contributed to community building. Carson, a professional yoga teacher who has been leading movement-based programs in schools, libraries, and museums for over a decade, presents a guidebook for serving library patrons of all ages, both mind and the body together. Filled with detailed strategies, proven program models, and real-life case studies, her book

  • describes the concept of physical literacy and explains why it matters, using both research and library testimonials;
  • shares tips for building enthusiasm among library staff, training, marketing, partnering with community organizations, and handling patron feedback;
  • shows how to get started regardless of staffing or budget limitations, with hints for sneaking physical literacy into existing spaces and initiatives;
  • includes programs for children and families, such as ABC Boom!, storytime fun runs, and a healthy nutrition lecture and tasting;
  • outlines a Water Wars! party, a Quidditch match, an earth walk, and other programs that convert teens’ energy into healthy movement;
  • demonstrates ways that adults can also get moving, from gym passes and walk/run clubs to ballroom dancing;  
  • guides libraries on involving special populations through outreach and inreach; and
  • provides checklists for prep, teardown, tie-ins, and followup.

This book is essential reading for any programming librarian, administrator, or community coordinator looking to boost circulation stats, program numbers, literacy rates, and foster joy and wellness in their community.

Foreword, by Dr. Noah Lenstra

Introduction    A Moving Movement
Chapter 1    What Is Physical Literacy and Why Does It Matter?
Chapter 2    Getting Started: Implementing Movement-Based Programs in Your Library
Chapter 3    Passive Play: Sneaking Physical Literacy into Existing Spaces
Chapter 4    Get the Sillies Out: Physical Literacy Programs for Children and Families
Chapter 5    Energy in Motion: Helping Teens Self-Regulate through Movement
Chapter 6    Remembering How to Play: Getting Adults Moving
Chapter 7    Inclusive Movement: Involving Special Populations through Outreach and Inreach
Conclusion    Creating the Spaces They Deserve: Providing Opportunities for Whole-Person Literacy in Our Communities
Afterword    Broadening Our Concept of “Literacy” to Include Physical Literacy, by Dr. Denise Agosto

Appendix    Movement-Based Holidays
Glossary of Terms

Jenn Carson

A 2019 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, Jenn Carson is a professional yoga teacher and the director of the L.P. Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada. She is the creator of the website and has been delivering movement-based programs in schools, libraries, and museums for a decade. She was named the inaugural member of the Let’s Move Libraries advisory board. She also blogs about her physical literacy adventures at the ALA’s Programming Librarian website:

"Ready to inject new energy into your library’s programs? A great starting point is in the work of public librarian Jenn Carson ... Add Jenn’s book to your shelves. It’s the guide that will get you started."
Let’s Move in Libraries

"Unreservedly recommended for college and university library 'Library Science' collections, as well as community library in-service training manual for librarian instructional curriculums."
— Midwest Book Review

"We work in libraries, so we’re all about literacy, right? And there’s certainly no shortage of different types of literacy for us to support! There’s adult literacy, financial literacy, and digital literacy, just to name a few. But until I read Get Your Community Moving, I must admit I’d never thought of physical literacy before. Jenn Carson has—and is offering to share—information, tips, and activities you can use to create movement-based programs that offer your community more than books—they offer health!"
— Public Libraries