Libraries get moving!

Fitness programs for everyone

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May is National Bike Month, and libraries across the country are helping their community members hop onto two wheels to celebrate. Cycling programs are just one of many ways that libraries are helping community members stay active. As local hubs, libraries are a great place to promote community health initiatives, often in partnership with government-sponsored programs. From aerobics to Zumba and everything in between, we hope you’ll find a ton of ideas and inspiration to bring to your library’s fitness programming.

Bike Month and beyond

How libraries are getting involved

  • Bike to the Library Week: Eckhart Public Library (Indiana) is celebrating all the bike riders in the community with a Bike to the Library program. Community members are invited to ride their bike to the library any day during the week of May 13, take a photo with their bike in front of the library, and have a chance to win a variety of bike related prizes.

  • Young smiling girl standing in front of a bike logo on a bike path
    Photo: Mesa Public Library on Facebook
  • Bike to Books Contest: Mesa Public Library is partnering with City of Mesa's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program to host a second year of the Bike to Books contest. Kids in prekindergarten to 12th grade are invited to help design bike symbol art for a City of Mesa shared use path. One winner will be chosen to have their design installed on the city’s bike paths. Visit the Bikes to Books webpage to see last year’s winners, plus a slideshow showing the bike path designs in action.

  • Winnipeg Public Library (Canada) is hosting Tour de WPL: A Group Bike Ride to help new and experienced riders explore the city and learn cycling safety tips. The tour will also include historical facts about the libraries that are included on the bike tour, in honor of Winnipeg’s 150th anniversary.

  • Tuning up bike month programming: This ALSC blog post offers an overview of Bike Month, a list of ideas to inspire your library’s programming, and photos and examples from libraries.

  • DC Public Library (Washington, D.C.) has been a longtime supporter and celebrator of National Bike Month. The Tour de DCPL is a popular recurring event which invites community members to join a staff-led group ride exploring downtown locations. Riders can enjoy trivia, refreshments, and DC Public Library swag along the way.

  • Menlo Park Library is celebrating Bike Month by hosting a Bike to the Library Day event, which includes helmet giveaways, bike skills courses, reading sessions, bike blender Spin Art, a bike repair station, refreshments, and more.

  • Elk Grove Village Public Library (Illinois) loves bikes! They partner with Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove on projects like a Book Bike and a recently renovated bike rack at the library. Their Book Bike tours the town, handing out free books, reading to kids, and supporting biking in the community.

  • Bike Month resources:  Visit the League of American Bicyclists website for free Bike Month resources, including promotional materials and graphics, bicycle community data, and more.

Bike Month booklists

Everyone loves a good booklist. Here are a few bike-themed booklists to help your patrons explore the world on two (or three) wheels.

How libraries are moving, shaking, dancing, hiking, and more!

Group of smiling people standing in front of a 5k finish line
Photo: Joeten-Kiyu Public Library on Facebook
  • Ames Public Library (Iowa) is helping kids stay active through a variety of dance classes and performances. In 2023, the Stormettes Dance Line, an inclusive multicultural dance group from Iowa State, held a dance workshop at the library for people of all ages. One of the goals of the workshop was to include everyone, regardless of experience or skill level, and to emphasize how dance can help promote positivity and self-love. Other dance-related events at the library include Macaroni Soup, an active dance class for kids under age 5 and the 2024 Black Arts Festival, which included music, dance, spoken word, artist talks, and more featuring local Black artists and performers.

  • Catawba County Library System (North Carolina) is committed to helping its community members improve their well-being by offering creative health and wellness programming as a part of the Healthy People 2030 Champion Program. This program is offered through the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion to help encourage organizations to impact health outcomes. One of the goals Catawba has taken on is to increase the proportion of adults who do enough aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. To help achieve this goal, the library offers free health and fitness classes—including Zumba and indoor and outdoor yoga classes, tai chi, group hikes, and community gardening programs.

  • Joeten-Kiyu Public Library (Saipan, Mariana Islands, USA) recently hosted their third annual Library 5K Fun Run/Walk. This year, participants were invited to dress up as their favorite literary character and had chance to win a “People’s Choice” prize for the best costume. All proceeds from the event support the library’s collaborative summer reading program.

  • Rockport Public Library (Maine) is getting in on the 5k fun, too. The Rockport Library Donut Dash 5k is a part of the town’s Donut Festival, and all proceeds directly support the library.

  • Chair-based fitness classes offer a great way to ensure fitness classes are inclusive. Two examples come from Penrith City Council Library’s chair aerobics class (in New South Wales, Australia) and John C Hart Memorial Library’s chair yoga class (in New York).

  • Westbury Memorial Public Library (New York) is taking advantage of the pickleball craze by offering Tennixise classes for community members. Tennixise is a total-body tennis/pickleball themed fitness class.

Resources to inform your library’s approach to movement and community health

Six smiling people wearing walking shows and standing on a deck in front of a lake
Photo: Catawba County Library System on

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Other resources

  • Fitness and movement kits: If your library has a Library of Things, consider adding a fitness kit to your collection to help expand the reach of wellness programming beyond the library walls. See examples from libraries like East Central Regional Library (Minnesota) and Carnegie-Stout Public Library (Iowa).  El Centro Public Library (California) offers hiking backpack kits stocked with trekking pole, binoculars, a compass, survival equipment, and more. And at Mustang Public Library (Oklahoma), community members can even check out bikes!

  • Boston Public Library health and wellness resources: Browse a rich collection of resources on all things health and wellness, including booklists, research guides, blog posts, and teen health and wellness resources.

  • Start or join a walking club: This American Heart Association article offers ideas and resources for starting a walking club in your community.

Further reading