Originally published 9.2011 in the Madison Weekly News
Beginning Sunday, September 18, Madison families will have the opportunity to explore a variety of learning adventures in the new Children’s Living Library at the Madison Public Library.
“The Children's Living Library at our Madison Public Library will be the first of its kind for any library that we know of in Alabama and possibly the country. It will feature things like a life size Scrabble board, mini-amphitheater for story time, Madison County soil history and display, veggie garden, boat dock with ship, etc. The scenes in the garden will be tied in to the library with our take on storybook themes like Charlotte's Web and Where the Wild Things Are.” said Kristen Kulavich, Project Manager for the Children’s Living Library.
Madison Friends of the Library will be hosting a grand opening for the new children’s section on Sunday, Sept. 18 from 2 to 4 pm. The event will be open to the public. Refreshments will be provided and a ribbon cutting will be held with state and local officials.
Some activities that children will enjoy in the living library include a Lilly the Lizard's reading nook and wildflower garden, a children's amphitheater featuring a spider web backdrop, and a chalkboard and drawing patio. The new children’s area will also showcase a “Day at the Beach” magnetic sand table and bubbling solar fountain.
A focus of the living library will be to teach children about sustainability and the environment around them through exhibits such as “Butterfly and Bird Lovin'” flower beds, a veggie garden, Earthworm World, and a recycling and composting education area.
The living library will also have learning activities such as a stepping stone counting path and history game.
“We had many groups such as Rotarians, Optimists, Madison Historic Preservation, scouts working on Eagle Scout projects, and so many individual citizens that came out and worked to build the garden.” said Kulavich, of the collaborative effort to create the living library.
Each garden project was created by matching a sponsor with a builder. Partners will be giving support to the project by teaching lessons in the garden or advising in various capacities.
“Our theme for the Garden is ‘every child is a story yet to be told’. I think it is evident from the amount of support the Children's Living Library has received from our community that we are a city dedicated to our young people, and making sure they have the tools necessary to succeed. The living library is free to those who enter and full of great lessons that young children can take with them throughout their lives.” said Kulavich.
Librarians will hold special story times and activities for children in the new outdoor area. The living library will also be available to local groups who wish to hold meetings in the garden. The hours of the living library will be open whenever the Madison Library is open, weather permitting.
Any groups interested in contributing to the care and maintenance of the planting beds can contact Kristen Kulavich at email@example.com.