Delta County Libraries administrative assistant Susan Hamrick holds up her arm to display a red bracelet that could easily be mistaken for a watch. "I was finally inspired to take my new Fitbit out of the box to record my steps for the fitness challenge week."
Hamrick is referring to the Book It! Library Fitness Challenge which took place June 13-19. Delta County Libraries staff challenged an eager public to see which group could average more steps per person for the week, utilizing giveaway pedometers as well as fancier devices. Tying in with the health theme of this year's summer reading program, the goal was largely about showing that fitness, like reading, can be fun when introduced with the right approach.
As with Hamrick, Hotchkiss Library patron Angela Caldwell found this was the motivation she needed. "I was really excited to hear about the fitness challenge because I wanted to start walking and working out again. I just always made excuses and found other things to do. I knew the challenge would hold me accountable so I signed up with a goal of 10,000 steps per day. I've been walking four to five days a week since then and I feel great! Ten thousand steps per day isn't always easy but it's definitely possible. My kids have even gotten involved. We love the summer reading program."
Some families had participants from both sides, adding to the incentive. Library collections assistant Kristi Lloyd describes the friendly family contest she shared with her 12-year-old son, Benji. "I had just come out of my bedroom one morning -- I was barely even awake yet -- and my son was out there running laps around the coffee table in the living room. He told me, 'I want to get 1,000 steps before breakfast!' " Unfortunately for Lloyd, the laps paid off and she lost to her son by more than 14,000 steps, but she is delighted he was so focused on exercising.
It is clear that these participants are some of the real winners of the fitness challenge, but which team actually garnered more steps per person? District director Lea Hart explains, "Results are tough to calculate due to the fact that many patrons literally ran away with their pedometers and didn't share their counts with us. Since we made it clear that those patrons would be counted as zeros, they have brought the whole average down. Competition was tight and if it weren't for the zeros, I wouldn't be able to say this, but I am proud to announce that our staff won the fitness challenge."
While Delta County Libraries staff members may have only beaten the public on a technicality in the step challenge, they proved they can write the book on in-library fitness videos during the week. Utilizing music from the district's free music database, Freegal, and other online sites, many staff members spent the week dressed in full fitness gear, using library ipads to record themselves engaged in various aerobic activities.
Hart is satisfied with the week, saying, "The fitness challenge confirmed to library users from all over Delta County that working out can be fun and, I hope, showed some of our staff that working at libraries can be fun too."
Delta's second annual "Kickoff to Christmas" takes place Saturday, Nov. 25. This event is sponsored by the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce and First Colorado National Bank.