The Fairfax Public Library (a branch of the Marin County Free Library system) was honored to be a recipient of the 2018 ACL mini grant! The library property is quite large and includes a beautiful community garden and plenty of outdoor space. The community garden, however, does not feel much like an open, public space, and our grounds are underutilized as a programming space—this was the inspiration for the event. On November 2, 2018, we hosted a Community Garden Party with music, crafts and snacks, as well as launching a new set of garden kits for patrons to check out. The kits (there are six of them) include several child-sized gardening tools, a large and sturdy magnifying glass and a bug catcher with attached magnifier and can be used in our new “Dig It” planted garden.
About 50 people attended this multi-generational event throughout the 3 hours that we had music and crafts. We began by making seed bombs with dirt, clay and wildflower seeds that attendees could bring home and plant (or toss into a garden area). Next, we painted the planter box that I made for the outside area and kids got to dig around with the new tools and look for various buried treasures (plastic bugs, acorns and stones). It was free form for the next hour while we waited for the local children’s musician, Dani Levy—kids had snacks, continued painting, playing, and engaging with the seed bombs and pin wheel crafts set out. When Dani arrived at 3:00 pm she performed songs and engaged the children with shakers, marching, and pretending to be seeds.
It was wonderful to see such a range of ages at the party—from babies in strollers to young school-age kids to grandmothers and interested patrons who just came to see what was going on. A reporter from the Marin Independent Journal turned up as well and took photos throughout the afternoon. (Here is the link to the online post: www.marinij.com/2018/11/02/fairfax-ushers-in-autumn-with-garden-party/. People were genuinely pleased to see the outdoor area of the library being used as an event space, and I hope this encourages other staff members to host events out-of-doors. It has always been my vision to do more storytimes and activities outside, and I thank ACL for giving me the opportunity to share this lovely space with our community!
The Dig It garden planter box will remain outside for families to use, and the garden kits are ready to circulate now! This grant has also inspired the branch manager and county offices to consider a much bigger garden project landscaping the entire front area of the library. The initial plans include a story walk, public planter boxes, labyrinth, and storytime area under an oak tree. It just goes to show that planting a small seed can turn into a bountiful garden!
Iris Meinolf, Fairfax Public Library