January 17, 2022

Journal Article: “Public Libraries and Walkable Neighborhoods”

The following article was recently published by International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


Public Libraries and Walkable Neighborhoods


Noah Lenstra
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Jenny Carlos
University of North Carolina at Greensboro


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
16(10), 1780
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16101780


Public libraries constitute a ubiquitous social infrastructure found in nearly every community in the United States and Canada. The hypothesis of this study is that public libraries can be understood as important supports of walking in neighborhoods, not only as walkable destinations, but also as providers of programs that increase walking in communities.
Recent work by public health scholars has analyzed how libraries contribute to community health. This particular topic has not previously been researched. As such, a qualitative, exploratory approach guides this study. Grounded theory techniques are used in a content analysis of a corpus of 94 online articles documenting this phenomenon. Results show that across North America public librarians endeavor to support walking through programs oriented around stories, books, and local history, as well as through walking groups and community partnerships. While this exploratory study has many limitations, it does set the stage for future, more rigorous research on the contributions public libraries and public librarians make to walking in neighborhoods. The principal conclusion of this study is that additional research is needed to comprehensively understand the intersection between public librarianship and public health.

Direct to Full Text Article ||| PDF Version (25 pages)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.