Ashley Batchelder, a master's student in the Leep online program, presented her library's physical activity programs at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference, which was held from September 13-15 in Springfield, Illinois. Batchelder, who is an assistant children's librarian at the Mt. Zion (IL) District Library, took part in the session, "Let's Get Moving at the Library! Physical Activity Programs for Fun and for Health." She presented two programs that promote physical activity at her library: the Music and Movement program she developed and the library's Annual Garden Party that kicks off the summer reading program.
The idea for the Music and Movement program originated from a music and movement class for infants Batchelder observed while earning her BA in music at Millikin University. When she started at the Mt. Zion District Library in January 2016, she noticed there were no programs for patrons under 18 months old. She proposed a music- and movement-based program for the library, and her director loved the idea. The program, which meets once a week, is divided into three ten-minute periods.
"During the first period, we introduce ourselves using our 'Hello' song and then continue to sing interactive songs using movements and rhythm scarves," Batchelder explained. "The next period is referred to as 'Instrument Time,' where I lay instruments such as shakers, drums, maracas, and tambourines on the floor and let babies investigate on their own. In the last period, we come back together for more songs that incorporate instruments, movements, and sign language. We always end the session with our 'Goodbye' song, which happens to be the same as our 'Hello' song!"
Since the program launched in 2016, Batchelder reports that it has been "wildly successful" and has filled a need in the community for an activity for infants.