A state grant is helping the Southern Oklahoma Library System meet their patrons’ ever-changing needs.
SOLS received a grant of roughly $9,000 from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries to promote health literacy and create classes for their patrons. The library system was one of 26 libraries to be awarded the grant, and has received the same funding in past years.
SOLS Reference and Adult Services Librarian Pam Bean has been creating Tai Chi classes for seniors and other exercise programs for the library for the last several years. She said the library is expanding the class offerings to cover more topics and reach more people.
“We started out with cooking classes,” Bean said. “Mostly, what I did was buy equipment. I’ve done canning classes, and right now I’m doing Instant Pot. Everybody’s really interested in the Instant Pot.”
The grant covers outreach endeavors and kids’ programs as well. Bean will be at the Love County Health Fair this month with pamphlets about healthy eating and exercise. For presentations on hand washing, Bean bought Germ Kits, which use black lights and powder to show the bacteria on a person’s hands.
After January 1, the library will offer yoga classes in their Wilson location.
“We tried it last year and our Wilson group liked it the best,” Bean said. “We’re trying to do the same thing in all of the branches, but we’re also specifying it more.”
A four-week beginning chair stretch class in Tishomingo is just about to begin, and the library also plans to hold classes at the Ardmore and Sulphur veterans centers in the spring.
“The trainer at the Sulphur Veterans Center is a vet, so it’s a perfect fit,” Bean said.
In the last year, Bean said increased funding has allowed her to add more exercise classes.
Classes are generally announced on the SOLS Facebook pages.
“Our money has increased as well,” Bean said. “We started out with about $4,000 and now it’s at $9,000, so we get to do more.”
Next month for National Diabetes Month, the library will work with the OSU Extension office to create recipe modification classes for diabetics.
“We’re doing that, so far, everywhere but Tishomingo,” Bean said. “But we’ll find a way to get it to Tish.”