We couldn’t have asked for a more on-the-nose summer reading theme for New York’s libraries than this year’s Build a Better World. It lands right in our sweet spot of addressing all sides of the Triple Bottom Line, and it’s ultimately the reason the Sustainability Initiative was created. (What’s the Triple Bottom Line? We’re so glad you asked! This and other questions are answered in our Glossary).
We asked readers to share their summer reading club ideas that incorporate sustainability.
Here are a few:
Where: Johnstown Public Library
Who: Valerie Rogers
What: We are planning to donate money to local animal shelters and rescues. For each hour a child reads they will be able to place a penny or nickel in an individually marked jar for one of the animal shelter or rescue facilities. We are inviting our adult patrons to donate their loose change for this project as well. At the end of the summer we will donate the monies to the facilities.
Where: Claverack Free Library
Who: Thea Schoep
What: We're working with local engineers and teens to build small free libraries for those who live in sections of our community that have barriers to using the library in person.
Where: Alfred Box of Books Library
Who: Melanie Miller
What: Lots going on that supports this theme!
We will be using activities designed by the Lunar and Planetary Institute and StarNet Libraries to engage families in "Playful Building" based on the engineering design process. This will help us move from "summer reading" to "summer learning." The activities are hands-on and will engage children, teens, and adults in problem solving, creative building, collaboration, and STEM learning throughout the summer.
With a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation, we will also be working on a community project to revitalize our children's butterfly garden and have programs related to the importance of pollinators. We are also doing away with the competition feel of reading the most books to get a prize, and instead are asking individuals to set their own reading goal for more intrinsic reward. We are also eliminating incentive prizes, and instead having three larger raffles for which kids get tickets for the raffles by attending programs, participating in activities, etc.
Where: Northern Onondaga Public Library
Who: Kate McCaffrey
What: Planet Earth gets a lot of attention here!
NOPL at Cicero's Maker Club participants will work on a solar water heater, mini wind turbine, and a flood barrier building challenge. Our Nature Camp offerings will include "Worms: The Superheroes of Soil", "Life Cycles: Where do we fit in?" and programs on geocaching and food literacy.
A Farmers' Market will complement our popular community garden program, called the LibraryFarm. Our "plotters" donate their time to work in our food pantry garden. Home gardeners can borrow compost passes, and the library is a CSA (community supported agriculture) drop-off site. Throughout the year, we lend items that may reduce unnecessary waste or duplication, such as kilowatt meters, air quality monitors, thermal leak detectors, and lawn games.
Where: Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
Who: Melinda Taormina
What: We are offering programs to engage patrons and encourage them to think globally, seeing beyond the community, as far as space through a Planetarium Program, and learning to become better caretakers of wild animals through a NY Wildlife Program. We may create a small community of lending libraries in the towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon, freestanding and operated on a donation basis within communities. This will enable patrons without transportation to "travel" the world through books and expand their horizons. We will offer concerts and performers who will share the messages of inclusion and acceptance in a fun and entertaining manner, hopefully encouraging attendees to "pay it forward."
Where: Suffern Free Library
Who: Jen Cohen
What: Our teens will be collecting recyclable bottles all summer long. Besides getting credit in their summer reading logs for the recyclables, the money we collect for turning them in will be donated to a local non-profit that our teen advisory council has chosen.
Where: Voorheesville Public Library
Who: Gail Brown
What: This year we’re feeding bodies and minds to help Build a Better World. Several years ago we did away with the little plastic incentive prizes in favor of giving out a ticket for each book read. Each ticket is worth a vote for one of three charities. Through the Friends of the Library, the funds that would have been spent on trinkets goes instead to the winning charity. This year the children have already selected their charity and all funds will go to help build a new elementary school community playground! For every book participants read and record, the Library will contribute 5 cents to the Friends of the Playground. In addition, we will be partnering with our local food pantry to donate brand new books to give to those families that participate in their school supplies backpack project.
Help reduce your carbon footprint and celebrate May is National Bike Month.
May 10th is Bike to School Day. May 19th is Bike to Work Day.
GIve this idea a spin! The Haverstraw King’s Daughters Public Library is highlighting National Bike Month with a Bicycle Rodeo where children can test their riding skills on an obstacle course, learn bike safety from the local police department, and decorate their rides. Contact Elyse Stoller for more information.
Are you Building a Better World this summer at your library? Share your program with us!