Living Library

Why is it called the Living Library?

The Living Library represents the combined efforts of the Garden Club and the Media Center staff to promote the love and awareness of all things living. The Garden Club provides the expertise and volunteers to carry out many garden related projects throughout the year, mainly on Wednesdays, while the library staff carry-on the work inside by offering more nature-based experiences that are each tied to literacy in some way.

All Lower Elementary students visit the library on Fridays during their enrichment rotation, and therefore have regular opportunities to further explore nature concepts. For example, when the carrot seeds are planted we may read Carrot Seed or Creepy Carrots and then compare and contrast various kinds/aspects of carrots. During the potato harvest, we read Two Old Potatoes and use the recipe that is shared in the book to cook the potatoes. In addition, when pumpkins were planted, we measured and tracked the growth using a line graph and carried out measurement activities.

Furthermore, an additional garden was created by the MSP Boy Scouts in the space adjoining the library and art annex. This new space provides children opportunities to observe plants, flowers, and the life cycle of butterflies.  It also offers a quiet place to retreat to and read their library books outside in the “Read Pees”.

The concept expanded to the West Campus for Upper Elementary children when the Jardin de Mariposas (Butterfly Garden) was developed. During the 2013-2014 school year, the garden received the Monarch Waystation Certification from the University of Kansas.

The Garden Club also expanded to the 12th Avenue campus and created vegetable beds for the 3-6 classes. These children plant and harvest a different set of vegetables, so that when they rise in grades, they will continue to have a new set of experiences growing different kinds of healthy food.

Last year, after picking the broccoli and sampling it, a child exclaimed, “I never had this before, but I like it” and it made all the hard work disappear in an instant. Thanks to all our garden club volunteers currently and over the years, who have helped the garden evolve into this amazing program.

How are the Living Library and Garden Club funded?

The Garden Club is funded by the MSP PTO, donations and grants, and through our own fundraising efforts. In 2013-14, we started collecting aluminum cans and earned about $50.00! Our can collection bin continues to spill over and we are thankful for the support!

Thank you to our 2016-17 sponsors:

  • Apple Market grocery
  • Sun Coast Growers
  • Florida Extensions Services
  • And to all the garden club members who not only donate their time, but also money and supplies to keep this project going!

Where do my book donations go?

We will gladly accept book donations! If we already have a few copies of one title, we will give the classrooms first pick of any they might like. After that, we will consign it at a used book store and receive in-store credit, so that we may purchase other titles to complete our book series or award collections. When we can’t receive credit, we will donate books to fellow book loving organizations, such as:

  • Learn to Read
  • Humane Society
  • Gulf Coast Kids House
  • Open Books
  • Friends of the Public Library
  • Little Free Lending Libraries

Don’t forget!

We have adult libraries, which can be found in the main library behind the desk and on the 12th Avenue campus in the lobby. Pick a book, read it, and then replace the same book, or bring in another one – it’s that easy!