There is widespread desire for extended longevity, provided it coincides with healthy, youthful years (Donner, Fortney, Calimport, Pfleger, Shah, & Betts-LaCroix, 2016; Lang, Baltes, & Wagner, 2007). Socially responsible strategies promoting public encourage community engagement. A recent public/private partnership approach began as a National Geographic expedition to find the longest living cultures evolved into a recipe for living longer (Blue Zones, 2014; 2016). Blue Zones (BZs) project is an organized social movement in select American communities to replicate BZs healthy lifestyle principles and longevity. Three states (Hawaii, Iowa, and Oregon) and four communities in California, Florida, Minnesota, and Texas have committed to become a target BZ (Buettner, 2008; 2015). Aside from the BZ infrastructure, what is the role of the public library in community engagement and adoption of a healthy lifestyle in planned community health initiatives?
Government involvement in personal health issues has been met with resistance (Leonard, 2011; Mor, 2015; Palmer, 1999). The involvement of local government in the BZ initiative opens the door to criticism and speculation by community members (Leonor, 2015). Despite its governmentally funded status, public libraries are socially responsible to their communities for providing unbiased information, space for gathering, and a commitment to engaging citizens from all walks of the community. Collections alone pose problems as information overload poses challenges to community engagement in planned healthy communities. Services such as information sessions, project demonstrations, and subject-specific resources add to the information overload phenomenon. Lankes (2012) statement calls for building communities through libraries. Despite the increasing popularity of BZs in the research and practice of public health promotion and social policy, no research has been conducted by LIS scholars to examine the effect of information provision and use in the context of the five BZs, specifically as it relates to the role of the public library.