While attending a Minnesota Library Association event, Teri Smith, Redwood Falls Public Library director, opted to become a member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Little did she know at the time that the free membership would do more for the library and the community than just provide information about the importance of health and wellness.

What that membership offered was a grant that would encourage members of the community to put information about wellness into practice. The library received a grant that led to it acquiring Fitbit technology that people can use to become healthier.

According to Smith, 36 percent of Redwood County residents are classified as overweight, and the average BMI is 29.1 percent. 

Smith said the library received 20 Fitbit devices as well as information about health and wellness.

The grant program runs from now through the end of April, and in that time Smith hopes to kick off a program that will get the public involved in taking personal responsibility for its health and wellness.

With that in mind, Smith is looking for people who are interested in taking part in a six-week program that will encourage people being more active utilizing the new technology.

Smith is planning to host an initial meeting for those who want to be involved that will develop a plan for how to proceed during six weeks when the program is running.

In addition, at the initial meeting, Smith said the plan would be to have representatives from the Redwood Area Community Center and Carris Health - Redwood to talk about fitness and healthy eating. There will also be training on how to use the devices.

Smith said there will also be a chance at the first meeting for people to weigh in and be measured, but she added that is an optional part of the program. At the end of the six-week program another meeting will be held to celebrate the successes and determine the difference the program made for those who took part in it. Smith said there may be options for a group to walk together as part of the program.

Those who take part will come to the library to pick up the Fitbits and then drop them off each day they take part.

“We won’t be checking the Fitbits out,” said Smith. Smith said the initial program could lead to a number of other options down the road, adding the Fitbit devices that have been granted to the library will stay with the library permanently.

Smith said she thinks the program could be a lot of fun and could be the kind of thing people who are looking for a way to be healthier need. Smith said this may be one more way to get more people to check out the library.

“It is always our goal to get more people to come and visit the library,” she said.

Those who are interested in the program are encouraged to contact Smith at the library by calling (507) 616-7420.

More about the library can be found at www.redwoodfallslibrary.org.