Library will put the spring in your step this spring

Now that I have polished off the last of my Girl Scout cookies, paczki and Valentine's chocolates, it is time to lace up my gym shoes and burn off the extra layer that has been keeping me warm this winter. The weather is getting better, the sun is setting later and the half marathon I foolishly signed up for is suddenly just around the corner.

As lazy as I can be over the winter, I genuinely miss being outside and moving around. In addition to training for my race, I'll be hitting forest preserve trails and planning some hiking trips soon.

If you're on a similar journey this spring, I encourage you to consider Hinsdale Public Library - with our space, resources and programs - as the headquarters for your metamorphosis. We're not quite a gym, but you'd be surprised at how many ways we can help you get outside, get in shape and get back in step with nature.

If you're looking to stretch your legs and get some fresh air, join us at Fullersburg Woods for a winter birding walk this March, when the DuPage Birding Club will explain the basics of this hobby just in time for the spring migration. Later this spring, we'll get an update on the DuPage Forest Preserve system as a whole, including programs, projects and ecological restoration.

If you're feeling more adventurous, our travel program on Shawnee National Forest will offer you the chance to plot out an adventurous long weekend in the most rugged and beautiful part of our state, whether it's to observe the eclipse in April or traverse its bluffs and groves in the summer or fall. Our collection of travel books and programs can guide your research into natural wonders to explore.

Maybe, like me, you are a runner. (Or at least, you have to become one very quickly due to a nonrefundable half marathon registration.) If you're just getting started, a running coach will be at the library in May to go over the basics of training for a 5K. If you're already running, we invite you to incorporate the sloped lawn between the library and Burlington Park into your route; it is perfect for a "Rocky moment." Ascend the hill triumphantly, raise your fists, and take in the glorious vista below.

We are also hopping on the pickleball bandwagon; we're hosting an overview of the sport this April, and we even check out paddles and balls so rookies can practice the basics before investing in their own equipment. There are actually several other outdoor game kits in our "Library of Things" collection.

The library also offers plenty of ways to help you get healthy and in tune with the natural world without roaming far or breaking a sweat. Programs on meditation and qigong offer the same stress-relieving and mind-clearing benefits of more rigorous exercise. Our new Seed Library can help you get your garden started - don't miss our class on growing vegetables in containers or raised beds. You can even check out binoculars to watch wildlife return to Hinsdale from the comfort of your own home.

Of course, not every trip outdoors has to be for leisure; there's money to be made out there. When I learned that the library's vast collection includes a children's metal detector, I realized my daughter, who started walking, will finally be able to contribute to our household income after 17 months of mooching.

All that mud I'll be running across this spring is undoubtedly loaded with precious metals, and little Dorothea - a quite observant and industrious toddler - is sure to find it. Happy hunting!

- John Kokoris is the marketing and outreach manager at Hinsdale Public Library.