Giving Compass’ Take:
• Noah Lenstra, writing for Children & Nature Network, discusses the growth of nature libraries, which are libraries that incorporate community gardens on the property.
• Library gardens are a way to get local communities to become actively involved and engaged. How would additional funding help sustain community engagement in library gardens?
In the spring of 2006 in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Wayne County Public Library children’s librarian Shorlette Ammons approached the library’s director with an idea. Shorlette had a vision for a community garden planted in the green space owned by the library.
Though the director initially had misgivings about a library’s need for a garden, Ammons persisted and the garden was “green-lit.” Building the garden became a community endeavor with partners such as Cherry Research Farm, Goldsboro Parks and Recreation, Wayne County Cooperative Extension, Boys and Girls Club and area residents pitching in. An agriculture class at Wayne Community College even took part, having students prepare the garden
Once it was built, the community rallied behind the garden. During summer, children tended the garden, pulling weeds, planting seeds, and gaining an understanding of the food chain. Guests came to the library to talk about topics such as worms and bee-keeping.
Thirteen years later, the library describes the garden as “a valuable cultural resource for its citizens, residents and visitors.” The garden symbolizes the library’s mission to “promote an appreciation of our history and diverse cultures and offer community members the opportunity to meet and interact with others in the community.”
After her positive experience with the garden, Shorlette decided to take her passion for food justice to the national level. She now works as the community food systems outreach coordinator for the NC State Extension. There, she focuses on the engagement of southern women of color in food systems.
It has become increasingly common to see public librarians discuss different strategies they use to get their communities active and engaged in nature.
Read the full article about nature libraries by Noah Lenstra at Children & Nature Network.
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