A $3,000 grant from Northern Health has enabled the Fort St. James Public Library to purchase a large collection of DVDs related to health, fitness, and wellness, to the delight of Head Librarian Wayne Briscoe.
“A lot of people in the community were expressing interest in different levels and areas of fitness,” he says, “so the library board decide to pursue funding for that.” April Hilland, who sits on the library board, spearheaded the initiative, says Briscoe, with the District Office administering the library’s application for the Partnering for Healthier Communities grant. It’s anticipated that the library will see an increase in the number of people who aren’t regular users of the library coming in to utilize the new material, and help redefine how libraries can serve community members.
“People told us they were interested in different areas of health,” says Briscoe. “Some people want to get fit, some people have health issues, and others are interested in areas like yoga and meditation.” The material purchased with the grant funds was all based on suggestions received from members of the public, and ranges from general medical DVDs to high intensity workouts, and from DVDs teaching yoga for kids to material targeted at an older audience that might have health or mobility issues. It took two-and-a-half weeks to catalogue all the items, which are now available for loan.
“We aimed for a wide range of material, and for things that would cover all age groups,” says Briscoe. There are always spin-offs, he adds, noting that members of the community have been approaching the library and asking about material not included in the initial purchase. Although all of that funding has been allocated, Briscoe is happy to take suggestions about what other things people would like to see at the library, and use additional funds to purchase these items. “Someone asked for books about PTSD, and we’ve had interest in more items about illnesses such as COPD, diabetes, and arthritis—things which are very common here.”
Although the borrowing time for DVDs is usually seven days, that can be extended for some fitness series that extend over several weeks. Other DVDs, such as the Zumba ones, come with specialized equipment, which can be borrowed along with the DVDs. “Some of these DVDs are very expensive, and it’s a great way for people who might want to purchase them to try them out beforehand. And it might encourage some people to join a gym or club.”
Briscoe stresses the benefit of having these resources available for the community. “They’re here in a friendly environment, and they’re free,” he says. “All you need is a library card.”