So Many Resources, So Little Time: Announcing a New Library of Resources

Robert PingCo-authored with Kathy Cooke, network coordinator - One of the most common interests shared by staff at the Safe Routes Partnership is a love of books. Reading books, belonging to book clubs, haunting book stores when we're not working -- you name it. Books, reports and other resources and publications comprise our work days as well - we consult resources in our day-to-day policy change efforts, write fact sheets and reports, publish one-pagers and educational guides. Based on all that we have produced and have gathered over the years from our partners, we have created a Library of Resources that provides access to documents such as fact sheets, reports, journal articles and other materials that our expert staff have to be informative and useful found in their policy and program work. The Library is not an inventory of everything out there, but includes just the resources we feel are most useful to the Safe Routes to School movement. If there is something important you think we missed, let me know - robert [at] saferoutespartnership [dot] org!

The Library is in our Resource Center, a part of the national learning network, and encompasses materials related to physical activity, health and the built environment. The Library’s landing page gives background information on each of the Library’s subject categories, with links to documents that explain best practices, model policies and resources. While it defies the traditional concept of an actual building institution where stacks and shelves of books and publications reside, we have worked to structure and organize documents according to main category headings that serve as "Library rooms", beginning with Safe Routes to School. This first ‘room’ includes policy and program resources, including materials on the most recent federal funding programs: SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21.

The Street Scale Improvements room includes resources on Complete Streets and transportation alternatives, and more. This section provides information such as model resolutions and ordinances, background and policy successes and additional documents that help inform advocates of the benefits of intersecting physical activity with safe, accessible street spaces - and how to go about enacting complete streets policies in your community.

Our Land Use room includes documents on school siting and the joint use of shared facilities. Our thinking is that these resources can bolster your community's ability to increase kids' access to physical activity opportunities, with the end goal of improving public health through community-centered schools - those that are located in closest proximity to where kids live.

In our Lower income and Social Equity room, check out the resources that address socioeconomic barriers that lower-income communities face in providing safer places for kids to walk and bicycle to school. And finally, in our last sections, "Other" and Research, we've located informative materials about the economic benefits of our movement, and health impact assessments, with more to come, and our research section includes documents that show evidence of the benefits of Safe Routes to School and related physical activity.

So in that spirit of reading, we are thrilled to invite you to visit our Library, where perhaps you'll come across resources you've not met before, and surely, if you think of others, just email kathy [at] saferoutespartnership [dot] org with them. Let us know what you think of the Library!

In addition to the library, our technical assistance webinar series features expert speakers, a chat feature for participants, and archived downloadable post-webinar recordings. The free webinars are conducted about once a month and cover advocacy topics such as how to get Safe Routes to School funds awarded and obligated in states, best practices for state Safe Routes to School programs, how to advocate for programs and policies in lower income communities and much more. Learn more here.

The next webinar, Show Me the Money: Finding Local Funding Sources for Safe Routes to School, is Thursday, October 4 at 2pm ET (Register here). Quick description: There are many ways to fund your local Safe Routes to School program. From using traffic fines, to event profits, to sales taxes, to government and private grants, learn how to sustain your program and about the new funding opportunities in the federal transportation act: MAP-21.