April 21st, 2014

The Library: Good for Your Health

fitnessI don’t like to exercise. There, I said it.  And I have every excuse in the world to avoid it, with time and money topping that list.  Gyms can be expensive, I’m a working mom, running is a terrible invention…the list goes on. But then Cecil County Public Library issued a fitness challenge to its employees that literally changed my attitude and my life.

I was given a one-month chart with simple instructions: GET MOVING. It didn’t matter how or what, as long as I reached a goal of 500 minutes in four weeks. Pshaw. Piece of cake… or is it?  I already knew the library had lots of popular diet books, but exercise? So I hit the CCPL website for help and boy was I surprised. There are a ton of workout options in both the DVD and video game collections, from country line dancing to yoga, pilates, Taebo, Tai Chi, kickboxing and more. I could “sweat with the oldies,” get R.I.P.P.E.D, or try belly dancing, all in the comfort of my home and all for free.

With so many choices and no more excuses, I took home the Zumba Fitness Complete Total-Body Transformation System.  The kit includes four DVDs with several levels of intensity and time commitment. From a 20-minute express workout to a 45-minute cardio blast, even I could find time to do it, and it was ok to be a totally uncoordinated person in sweatpants…I was in my own living room and I was moving!

Another great DVD is the Biggest Loser 2 Workout, featuring former contestants from the hit show. There are a couple of reasons I enjoyed this video: first, I could customize my workout and second, the people doing the exercises looked more like me! No six-pack abs in tight pants here.  It was hard, but I found that I could keep up because of the inspiring men and women from the show. If they could do it, so can I.

As I progressed through the weeks, I also began exploring the library’s other sources for a healthy lifestyle. With my library card I can access the new Learn4Life series with courses in edible gardening, weight loss and natural healing. The Health and Wellness Resource Center is an awesome tool to gain nutrition information or find healthy recipes. I also love that CCPL has lots of information for special-interest needs; if you’re over 50, diabetic, have gluten allergies or suffer from arthritis, there is exercise and health information for you, as well. Click here to see even more of our exercise DVDs.

The most important thing about utilizing CCPL’s resources is that I didn’t get bored. If I didn’t like a DVD, I took it back to my local branch and chose another one. The library made getting started on a healthier life a lot more fun. And, in case you’re wondering, I clocked over 900 minutes of exercise and lost 8 pounds thanks to my employer’s challenge. I found my motivation and am on my way to a better version of myself (but I still don’t like to run!).

How does the library support your own healthy journey?

April 11th, 2014

Lives Change @ Your Library – Celebrate National Library Week April 13-19

Thomas Cousar PER 2014_1 - Copy_1First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. This year’s theme is “Lives Change @ Your Library.”  We’re excited to share with you how lives change at Cecil County Public Library, right in our own community.

Thomas fell on hard times after leaving the military, including a period of homelessness. When he came to the Perry Point VA hospital, he discovered computer classes specifically for veteransChristian Cholish with quote space_1 at the Perryville Branch Library. He learned how to create an email account, use the internet and apply for jobs online. He has since been hired by the VA and works to help fellow vets gain computer skills.

Christian started volunteering at the Elkton Central Library a few years ago and the experience made a profound difference in his life. He writes, “At the library, opportunities abound for both character and community. Here, young people like me expand themselves by reaching out and giving back. In programs, in volunteering positions, and of course in YA social spaces, we are challenged to learn, to lead, and to find ourselves. For all of my growth and success, I owe the library enormous credit.”  His volunteer work was so impressive, it led to a paid position as a shelving clerk. He is graduating with honors this year
and has been accepted early admission to a prestigious college.Bookmobile - Hollingsworth Manor Mar 2014

Our community cherishes our bookmobile service because it visits communities in which many residents have limited access to transportation. The bookmobile brings library services to schools, Head Start centers, Boys & Girls Clubs and other community meeting places.  Many families visit the bookmobile regularly because without a car, it’s their only connection for getting books.

Many parents worry about getting their childrenConklin family baby with card_1 ready to start school, but Mark and Crystal were a little surprised when their pediatrician strongly recommended reading to their newborn each day.  Through fun storytime programs at Cecil County Public Library, they learned how early childhood learning, starting at birth, is critical for school readiness.  They were thrilled to find out that baby Ellie could get her very own library card and they feel proud to be investing in their daughter’s future by teaching her a love of learning.

Jerome may be one of our most extreme library users ever! After a fire destroyed his vehicle, he salvaged his library card and continued to use it until the bar code could longer be scanned.  He was sad to give up his card because it showed how important the library was in his life.  We got him a new card – and he let us hold on to the burnt one as a great reminder of how important Cecil County Public Library is to so many citizens.Burnt Library Card

Celebrate National Library Week by stopping by your local branch this week or visiting a new one. And don’t miss our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more life-changing stories and trivia this week – you could even win a prize by submitting your “Extreme Library User” story.  Whether it’s how long you’ve had your card, how many books you check out, or how the library has made a profound difference in your life, we want to hear your “Extreme Library User” story!  Post your story here, on our social media accounts, or send to webmaster@ccplnet.org by 4/19 for a chance to win.

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