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Heart-Mind Connection at the Sacramento Public Library

Posted by on April 30th, 2021 Posted in: Consumer Health, Funding
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by Katie Ball
Special Projects Associate
Sacramento Public Library

The Sacramento Public Library (SPL) received a 2020-2021 Outreach Mini Award from the Pacific Southwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM PSR). This award was used to produce resources and programming for the Heart-Mind Connection (HMC). The goal of the HMC was to emphasize the connection between good heart health and a healthy brain, as well as the benefits of lowering blood pressure for improved long-term health for patrons of all ages. The HMC also addressed the current need for virtual mind and body wellness programming and equipped the public with health resources and medical tools. We aimed to reach our goal by providing the following activities:

  • Virtual Yoga: We held two 6-week sessions of Body Positive Yoga with local yoga instructor, Kirsten Johnson. Participants learned about the benefits of yoga on the NIH Wellness page.
  • Virtual Zumba: We held two 6-week sessions of Virtual Zumba with local Zumba instructor, Molly Giger. Participants learned about the benefits of regular exercise for heart health on the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute page.
  • Senior Health Kits: Utilizing our curbside pick-up service, we distributed Senior Health Kits, which were tote bags filled with theWhat to do for Senior Health book from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, a pill splitter, a travel alarm clock, a pill organizer, and printouts on senior-focused health care and tips for better brain health.
  • Family Health Kits: Utilizing our curbside pick-up service, we distributed Family Health Kits, which were backpacks filled with the What to do when your Child is Sick book from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, a plastic medicine spoon, a digital thermometer, a healthy recipe book, and a packet of information with tips for parents and guardians, including children’s exercise and nutrition ideas and how to stay healthy during Covid.

    Family Health Kit

  • Fidget Blanket Project: We introduced a new opportunity for volunteers to create fidget blankets at home. We provided participants with a kit of “fidget” supplies and fabric, and they lent their time and talents to sew a blanket. Finished blankets were then donated to various memory care facilities in the Sacramento area.
  • Blood Pressure Monitor Kits: To encourage patrons to educate themselves on their heart health at home, we introduced blood pressure monitor kits to the library collection. The kits include a wrist blood pressure monitor, instructions for how to take their blood pressure, a log to record their readings, and heart health tips from the NIH.
  • Mindfulness Film Screenings and Discussions: We held three virtual mindfulness programs aimed at children, teens, and adults, which included a screening of short films from our partner, TakeCare.org. The screening was then followed by either a demonstration or discussion related to the film’s theme.
    • Children: Screening of “Just Breathe” with a breathing demonstration from children’s mindfulness organization, YoReMi.
    • Teens: Screening of “Nature: No App Required” with a presentation on healthy living in a digital world from SPL staff.
    • Adults: Screening of “Night After Night” with a presentation on better sleep tips from Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Lori Roberto.

  Senior Health Kit

One of the successes from the HMC was the popularity of the Senior Health Kits and Family Health Kits. We used our Curbside Communicator system to ask if patrons would like to receive either of these kits at the time they were at the branch to pick up their hold items. This option provided a nice surprise to the patron, as they weren’t expecting to receive these kits. We were able to distribute over 160 Family Health Kits and 130 Senior Health Kits within 3 weeks at 10 branches throughout Sacramento County. Staff shared feedback that patrons enjoyed the items, the kits went quickly, and that they liked the chance to give something away during this time.

With the constant changes that occurred as Covid-19 precautions were put into effect throughout Sacramento County, SPL was unable to hold any in-person programming throughout the grant period. While this meant we couldn’t hold the fidget blanket workshops or blood pressure screenings, we were presented with the opportunity to introduce an array of health and wellness classes to our audience. As a result of the positive responses and feedback we received from class participants, we plan to expand our virtual programming to offer exercise and mindfulness classes for all ages. We will also keep the fidget blanket volunteer project going, as volunteers were eager to create blankets and there are many memory care facilities in our area that would benefit from having these blankets for their patients. We plan to seek out additional opportunities to share relevant resources developed in the HMC in future partnerships, outreach events, and other health-related programming.

Image of the author ABOUT Nisha Mody
Nisha Mody is the Associate Director of the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region, based at UCLA.

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NNLM Pacific Southwest Region
10833 Le Conte Ave. 12-077 Center for the Health Sciences
Box 951798
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
Phone: (310) 825-2183
Email: psr-nnlm@library.ucla.edu

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This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012341 with the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

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