Exercising Mind & Body 3

Through Free Pioneer Library System Programs

Always known as a good place for exercising brain muscles, the hometown libraries of the Pioneer Library System are expanding to help their communities with their physical well-being.

That takes shape in free classes on topics and for activities, including Tai Chi, Zumba, Pilates and exercises for those suffering with arthritis, as well as activities for nearly all age groups.

Aiding this process, the Moore and Southwest Oklahoma City libraries are benefiting from a grant provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. The grant will help the libraries promote health and wellness information, programs and resources to the community.

“The better understanding individuals have about their health choices, the better the outcomes,” said Leslie Gelders, director of the Literacy Resource Office for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. “That’s why this project is so important, and that’s why the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services are providing the funding for these grants.”

The grant is helping the Southwest Oklahoma City Public Library, 2201 SW 134th St., to present a New Year, New You Health Fair at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. That event will feature health and wellness information booths staffed by community organizations, free health screenings, free haircuts for children and giveaways.

That library has presented Pilates and Zumba classes through the grant, while the Moore Public Library, 225 S. Howard Ave., has put on popular Zumba classes for years but has added free classes in Beginner’s Yoga, Beginner’s Tai Chi and Intermediate Tai Chi to its schedule.

Though not part of the ODL grant, classes also are offered in the Noble, Norman Central and Norman West libraries as well. Each has hosted sessions of Tai Chi, and the Norman West library recently concluded a six-week series titled “Arthritis Exercises,” where participants learned a variety of simple exercises that can help those suffering with arthritis. Brenda Hill of the Cleveland County OSU Extension Service led those classes.

The Summer Reading Program in all PLS libraries in 2016 also focused on physical fitness themes, with programs for children and teens ranging from hula-hooping to dance to Olympic-themed challenges.

In the combination of both a physical and mental workout, PLS offers literally thousands of items in its extensive collection relating to health, fitness and general wellness.

Anyone who works, owns property or goes to school in Norman or anywhere in Cleveland, McClain or Pottawatomie counties is eligible for a free library card from the Pioneer Library System, which allows for access to print materials from the collection in any of the 11 hometown libraries of the system, as well as access to electronic materials and a variety of online databases.

Find out more by going online to pioneerlibrarysystem.org or accessing through the Pioneer Library System Connect mobile app, available for free download via the App Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android.