Today is Earth Day! All around the world, libraries will be putting on programs and highlighting collections that encourage youth to engage in their communities in order to protect and renew the planet we call home.
This year, our library combined our passion for early childhood services with our passion for sustainability, and got extra-creative about designing a library space from a repurposed shipping container.
Taking inspiration from shipping container libraries around the world, our Director, Gretchen Caserotti, got to work, collaborating with the city and local community partners (the YMCA and St. Luke’s Health Care). The shipping container was installed in July 2018, and interior and exterior finishings were completed in September, with an opening date of October 1, 2018.
Since opening, we’ve had more than 2,000 caregivers and their children come through the Tiny Library’s doors and engage in new ways with the space, and more than 900 children attend our programs. From Kindergarten Readiness, to Storytime Yoga, to playdates, and baby and preschool storytime programs, this small 300 square foot shipping container is a small space with lots of heart.
Before the grand opening, we held a book drive, reaching out into the community for new and gently used books. The books that are currently in the library are rotated with books from our other library locations in order to keep the content fresh, as well. Like the tiny home movement, we are being forced to be strategic and efficient with a small space, ultimately leading to less consumption and less waste.
While the Tiny Library cost about $186,000 to build (including architect fees, city permit fees, furniture costs etc.), $15,260 of the cost was covered through a grant from Meridian’s Solid Waste Advisory Commission. Are you looking for new ways to model sustainability for your youth and also for new grant sources for these programs, collections, or spaces? There may be grants right in your own backyard from organizations seeking to support the same goals!
There are so many ways that we can think creatively to provide quality services to the youth that we serve and to build a better world. Let us know what you are doing to celebrate Earth Day in the comments below or share your Acts of Green on the Earth Day Network’s website!
This post addresses the following competency: I. Commitment to Client Group
Skye Corey, Youth Services Librarian at Meridian Library District (ID), is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.