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Funding Award for Akron-Summit Public Library Fitness Tracker Cohorts

Posted by on January 3rd, 2018 Posted in: Funding, Public Libraries
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I’m pleased to announce that the Akron-Summit County Public Library (Ohio) Science & Technology Division lead by Monique Mason has been awarded funding for a great community physical fitness project!


Background: Twenty-nine percent of Summit County residents are obese, slightly lower than the state-wide average of 30% 1. The obesity rate in the City of Akron averages 34.2%, with some census tracts as high as 44%. 2 All of these rates are higher than the national rate of 28.7%.

Summit County residents are poorer than the US average with a poverty rate of 14.8% compared to 12.7% national average. The City of Akron’s poverty rate is 26.5%, more than double the national average.3

Description: The Science & Technology Division of the Akron (Ohio)-Summit County Public Library plans to create a multi-week program of loaning wearable fitness trackers to groups of people for the purpose of encouraging a regular and sustained increase in physical activity.   We will select groups of people from pre-existing community groups or groups selected for this purpose and treat them as a cohort – having them all at an initial program for instruction both on using the device and locating quality health information in support of increasing their activity levels as well as an initial “weigh-in” provided by students in the University of Akron’s Department of Sport Science & Wellness Education. We will encourage participants to return midway through the program to check their weight, discover some more resources, and provide fellowship, all in order to continue the momentum developed in the initial presentation and increase motivation.  We will have a final session to weigh, encourage continued activity, and collect the trackers.  We will encourage users to continue their healthy exercise habits and to connect with library staff on a regular basis after the project concludes. We will offer this program to several groups through 2018.


  1. County Health RankingsAccessed 11/28/17.
  2. CDC. Accessed 11/30/17.
  3. 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates accessed 11/30/2017



Image of the author ABOUT Bobbi Newman
Bobbi's professional background includes work in public libraries. She currently serves as a member of the Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) American Library Association (ALA) Advisory Committee. In the past, she has served as an ALA-Councilor-At-Large and on a variety ALA committees. In 2011 she was named a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. She divides her time between her dog, reading fantasy and nonfiction, playing video games, and gardening.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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