Q&A with Broward County Library's Adult Services Coordinator Michael Bryant
Broward County Library's BCLFit Wellness Centers program targeted 200 families living in the areas surrounding two Broward County Libraries located in food deserts. Running from August 2017 to February 2018, the program provided nutrition/fitness counseling and free workout equipment/classes for all ages designed to improve health and wellness. The success of this program earned BCL a Top Innovator Award in the Wellness, Safety and Sustainability category of the 2018 ULC Innovations Initiative. ULC reached out to BCL Adult Services Coordinator Michael Bryant to follow up and learn more about the lasting impact of this innovative program. Read his responses below.
Has the library's success with BCLFit Wellness Centers informed your other work around health and wellness in Broward County?
BCL includes BCLFit information within other programs such as meditation and gardening classes. BCL promotes the fitness trackers, pedometers and other equipment during outreach. Promoting the BCLFit equipment is a great way to motivate customers to obtain a library card.
Has the library pursued partners or extra funding in order to expand the program to other branches?
Yes, BCL has pursued partners to enhance BCLFit. For example, libraries offer free meditation and yoga classes to enhance the BCLFit experience. We are talking with a local hospital to provide free health lectures by medical doctors.
Do you have any metrical data showing that your program has led to a more fit and active Broward County?
Customers have indicated that BCLFit has led to a more fit and active lifestyle. The fitness equipment circulates very well which is a testament of the success of the program. Some indicators of the program's success include:
- Eighty nine adults participated in and completed the adult wellness challenge pre and post surveys.
- Fifty-five percent of the adults surveyed indicated a change in attitudes and behaviors around fitness leading to healthy habits.
- Fifteen percent of the adults completed five or more fitness classes.
Your winning Innovations entry shared two inspiring stories of individual outcomes. Can you share more information about some of the individual outcomes that this program helped library customers achieve?
Participants worked one-on-one with licensed nutritionists to develop a plan to track their progress, so each participant's benchmark for success was unique. Here are two more examples of individual outcomes from BCLFit:
- Carlos A. lives in North Lauderdale. He has high blood pressure and high cholesterol and is also pre-diabetic. He works many hours and, as a result, his eating habits suffer. Since joining the BCLFit program at North Lauderdale Library he now has free access to the project resources including a fitness instructor and a nutritionist. The nutritionist, Jackie Balderon, developed a detailed plan for him for eating well based on his health goals. Carlos also checked out a fitness tracker which will help him not only keep tabs on his weight and food consumption but also how well he sleeps. Because of the project resources, he has cut down on his caffeine and sugar intake in the evenings and he now sleeps better than he did before. He has related his experience to fellow co-workers who have also inquired about our BCL-fit program.
- David S. is 50 pounds overweight. He used to rollerblade on a regular basis throughout his neighborhood. He held onto his high school weight for several years. However, since he has started working two jobs, the weight steadily increased to the current overweight status. David is motivated to start losing weight and keep it off. He has been packing lunches for work, but when he gets off, he opens up bags of chips and crackers. He received nutritional counseling in early August 2017 to improve his diet. He has since turned to alternative snacks and is looking forward to purchasing new clothes to fit his smaller pant size. He will provide us with a follow-up visit in a few weeks and share how many pounds he lost since he received the nutritional counseling. He also dusted off his rollerblades and incorporated rollerblading back into his routine.