1. Create a garden wall
In 2020 Melbourne Girls’ College library saw the outside brought inside with an incredible green garden wall. A survey of students in previous years showed that they really valued the plant life already in the library .
The Melbourne Girls’ College community places an emphasis on education for sustainability, environmental awareness, and student wellbeing. This green space was established alongside other initiatives like the removal of general waste bins within the school, carbon neutral school events, and the introduction of an outdoor learning space inspired by native Murnong plants. In the years since its installation, the plant wall has continued to thrive and engage students.
2. Take storytime outdoors
Create outdoor opportunities for storytimes. Mackay Region Council were excited to offer the families of Mackay with ‘Strolling Stories’. This gave the community an opportunity to engage in a language rich experience outdoors, in their beautiful Botanic Gardens.
Sunshine Coast Libraries Story Seats offer a unique opportunity to connect with families who may not usually attend a library. They are a visible way of promoting early literacy and encouraging families to engage in storytelling, active play, singing and reading. They have recently received a new look thanks to some of Australia’s best loved picture book author/illustrators.
Ipswich Libraries have also recently launched their ‘Tales and Trails outdoor reading experience. This is the very first picture book outdoor experience to feature Braille in Australia.
3. Build a Seed library
Borrow some seeds while you borrow a book! New Zealand’s Waimakariri Libraries got local schools involved in the establishment of their seed library. Kids were involved in repurposing and decorating furniture to be used as the banks, collecting containers for seed growing, making seed packets out of newspapers and magazines, and providing seeds to exchange.
Moonee Valley Libraries in Victoria also have a seed library. Their members can take up to three seed packets per visit. During lockdown the staff went above and beyond, mailing over 140 packets of seeds to members. The community loves the service because it is a great way for kids to learn about where their food comes from, and the time and effort involved in growing something successfully from seed. Families who spent more time at home due to COVID enjoyed having something different and purposeful to do
By Nicola McGeown , Petrina Osborne and Beth Barrass – ALIA CYS Group