Blogger Laura Schulte-Cooper

Think Spring, Warm Weather, and Gardens! Botanical Stories in Libraryland

Sitting here at my laptop, wondering what to write about as I gaze out the window. Snow on the neighboring roofs, frost on my window, a high of 7 degrees outside. What subject jumps to mind? Spring, warm weather, and gardens, of course! And, as a result of my wistful daydreaming, below is a sampling of articles that feature libraries that incorporated gardens into their community and programming.

A Bumper Crop of Ideas: Library Gardens Offer Many Teachable Programs, Moments
By Sandy Kallunki
Children & Libraries (CAL), Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer 2015)

Adult/child in garden settingGardening can promote healthier eating, sustain environmental health, inspire a sense of community, and offer outdoor experiences for all ages. It’s no surprise that libraries are among the public places introducing gardens.

Learn how to combine early literacy components and garden-related activities to create engaging and rewarding library programming from this CAL article.

Photo courtesy of Brown County Central Library, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Creativity and Imagination Flourish in Library’s Secret Garden
By Fayth Chamberland & Fiona Stevenson, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library
ALSC Matters, May 2017

Plants in pots & children working in gardenConcord (Mass.) Free Public Library’s Secret Garden, miniature gardens in terra cotta pots, involved local groups and families in an outdoor project that promoted:

Intergenerational collaboration;
Community engagement;
Creativity, curiosity, and imagination;
Physical activity;
Nature exploration;
Development of problem solving skills with STEM; and

Photo collage courtesy of Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library

Cultivating Community in a Library Garden
By Shorlette Ammons-Stephens, Wayne County Public Library, Goldsboro, N.C.
ALSConnect, June 2009

Wayne County Public Library, recipient of the 2008 ALSC/BWI Summer Reading Program Grant, made their community garden the focal point for the summer reading program, “Catch the Reading Bug,” with programs like “The Benefit of Bees” and “Wonderful Worms.”

Improving the View with a Butterfly Garden
By Desiree Fairooz, Arlington (Va.) Public Library, Columbia Pike Branch
ALSConnect, March 2011

Finch at feeder near sunflowerAt Arlington (Va.) Public Library, a well-placed sign, “ADOPT A PLOT – Inquire within,” staked in a overgrown patch of weeds outside the library, led to a beautiful butterfly garden that blossomed with flowers, herbs, and wildlife right outside the windows of the children’s picture book area.

Finch photo courtesy of Arlington (Va.) Public Library

Teaching Gardens and Junior Master Gardeners
By Alexa Newman
ALSC Blog, May 16, 2017

The Teaching Garden at Algonquin (Ill.) Area Public Library features “In the Garden Lab” programming for all ages, which includes lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on gardening. In 2017, the library started a Junior Master Gardeners chapter. The Junior Master Gardener program is an international youth gardening program of the university cooperative extension network.

Back to Reality!

It may be a blustery January day but it’s not too early to start dreaming about (and maybe planning for) spring, warm weather, and gardens. Maybe this post will reach and inspire at least one fellow winter-weary soul and a new library garden will crop up next spring!


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