Community Garden Concept – A Little Library Exchange for Kids

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Our Foundation recently posted an article on fun community garden ideas to get kids more engaged which received some very positive feedback. However, the notion is by no means a closed book. We continue to come across inspiring concepts that can apply to your local community garden or farm, ones that will bring the community closer together and keep neighbourhood children coming back. Today’s feature is no different.

You may have come across a quaint birdhouse-esque (but bigger) construct on your travels through various urban/suburban sprawls. Your curiosity may have unveiled a collection of used books within the cabinet doors, with “take a book, return a book” scripted on its wooden exterior. This charming neighbourhood inclusion is likely a part of the Little Free Library, a non-profit movement that supports the worldwide offering of free books housed in small containers to members of a local community. This concept, whether you intend it to be a part of the official LFL World Map, or a standalone project, makes for a great addition to your community garden or farm.

What You Need to Know About Adding a Library Exchange to Your Community Garden

It Doesn’t Have to be a Part of the LFL

Free-Little-Library-Vancouver

Little Free Library (LFL) launched a global movement, but by no means does incorporating such an idea into your community garden include you having to register with the organization. If you want official association with the movement you can certainly register as a charter, but if the label is of no concern then feel free to proceed and have fun coming up with a unique name for your garden’s library exchange.

Build for Function and Fun

Little Free Library for Community Gardens

Have your community garden committee’s official/unofficial carpenter build a sturdy home for the miniature library, one that can withstand the climate of your region. Allow the creative juices to flow, matching the diverse and unique nature of your community. Once constructed, have the neighbourhood kids contribute by painting the cabinet exterior to add a splash of colour to the agricultural plot, bringing a smile to all who pass by.

Place it Within the Grounds of Your Community Garden

Community Garden in Vancouver BC

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would have an issue with such a positive an unobtrusive community initiative, but it has occurred. Thus, it is now commonplace for anyone undertaking such a project to seek a permit with their local municipality to do so. Thankfully, when incorporating the “take a book, return a book” library concept into your neighbourhood you already have the grounds in place  – your community garden or farm. Include the details in your community garden proposal (or amendment) when pitching the plan your city council. As long as it stands within the fenced area of your urban farm you won’t likely have any issue.

Add a Reading Area Within the Garden

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The primary goal of this concept is to create a garden space that will engage kids in the community. By setting aside a reading area kids will be more likely to stay in the garden plot longer, digging into the plot of a good book between bouts of garden maintenance. All that you need is a slight clearing (with shade) and a bench or two.

Get Started with a Great Collection of Books Kids Will Love

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Place a diverse collection (fiction and non-fiction) of children’s books in the library, including ones appropriate to a wide range of ages. Books that can complement the efforts of youth participating in the garden will be very helpful and add value to the entire outdoor learning experience. Have a look at our list of top children’s books about organic gardening if you’re looking for inspiration, especially our Foundation’s own Plant a Seed & See What Grows book. While the focus of this concept is on kids, feel free to include organic gardening/farming books for grown-ups as well, as this is indeed a theme for the entire community.

Do you have a unique community garden idea that you’d like to share? We’d love to connect with you on our Foundation’s social networks. Follow us on the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation’s FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest profiles and send us a message.