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Where seedlings are planted and conversations bloom

kids garden collage 1

POST BY TAMSIN COBB
Senior Library Assistant and Children’s Programmer

This spring, tweens in our Maker Club got their hands dirty, joyously scooping soil into containers, diligently marking holes, carefully placing seeds down, and meticulously watering to start our 85 Green Learning Garden project. With each new cell they started, the participants eagerly chose the next package to plant, looking at the picture, reading the name, and asking questions like “What is a loofah sponge?”

These seeds not only rooted a course for blooming incredible plants, but also created a space for conversation and connection. As the weeks went on, the tweens came into Maker Club and asked, “Have the plants been watered yet?” Luckily beans grow really quickly, and the kids saw the fruit of their labour early on. They also compared plants and wondered why others weren’t sprouting as quickly.

A corner of the Programming Room was filled with carts of our seedlings, and during one session, a participant asked, “Can we move the tables?” I said yes, thinking they were going to do some more observing, but when I looked back a minute later, two participants had pulled up chairs in front of the carts and sat down to just look at the seed garden and eat their granola bars.

The following week, another participant and I were watering the seeds, and she began to tell me about her grandmother’s garden and how excited she was to see how this garden turned out. We talked about the different things her grandmother had growing in her garden, and I even asked if her grandmother sang to her plants. She said no, but I didn’t tell her that I sang to these plants when I watered them alone. It’s an old thing my own grandmother did.

This garden has become something that we care for and bond over, and I can’t wait to see what else it grows in the summer months.

Here’s what’s been happening in the 85 Green Learning Garden

  • existing vegetation and soil in the courtyard beds have been replaced with fresh soil and compost
  • We will be planting our seedlings and transplants on Tuesday
  • Started seedlings inside for tomatoes, red and green peppers, jalapeno, nasturtium, chilies, and squash, then transplanted them to the courtyard beds
  • Purchased:  sage, lemon grass, oregano, rosemary, and thyme and planted them
  • Sowed beets, spinach, lettuce, chard, parsley, and mint directly into the beds
  • One garden will be a Sensory Garden, and the other will be a Rainbow Garden

Children can participate in the Green Thumbs program and work in the garden each week. They’ll get their hands dirty, learn about plants, and journal their gardening discoveries on Monday mornings. Starts July 8th, registration required.
Grades 4-8

Thanks for following along with the 85 Green Learning Garden. Watch for updates later this summer!

kids garden collage 2

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Pride Month at Kitchener Public Library

Here at Kitchener Public Library we are utterly festooned with rainbows for the month of June to celebrate Pride. Case in point:

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Photo by Sonja Friedrich

Historically libraries have been an important place for LGBTQ+ individuals to find information about coming out, health, family topics and to see themselves reflected in media and books. With the emergence of the internet, the library has evolved into a community space for LGBTQ+ to meet, socialize, create and learn together. A 2017 OutLook Study carried out by the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition found that libraries are one of the places LGBTQ+ people feel safest, with 64% of cisgender people and 57% of trans people reporting they feel safe in the library. This is a huge victory for us, and we are always striving to do better.

Did you know

We offer all-gender, accessible washrooms at all KPL branches. Check out this excellent map of the locations of all the gender neutral washrooms in the Waterloo Region created by SPECTRUM.

Kitchener Public Library is happy to allow trans customers to use their chosen name on their library card. You don’t need to have ID showing the change, just let us know and we’ll update it.

On June 13 KPL held an event called Queer in KW featuring a panel discussion on what it means to be queer in KW (featuring local LGBTQ+ community members and moderated by queer-identified KPL staff), followed by performances by local LGBTQ+ artists. It was a successful, beautiful and positive event, and one which we hope to repeat!

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“If You’re Beautiful and You Know It Shout Hooray!” (photo by Barb Janicek)

 

 

 

This year Kitchener Public Library’s wonderful and creative children’s department  hosted our first (and very successful) Drag Queen Story Time with the incredible Fay Slift and Fluffy Souffle!

Stay tuned for more fabulous story hours in the future.

 

 

Whoever you are, you belong at the library, so come out, come often, and come get yourself some of these Prideful Picks from your friendly neighbourhood Lesbrarians:

 

Or check out the LGBTQ+ Content or YA-LGBTQ tags in our catalogue for more queer content.


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June is Bike Month

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June is National Bike Month and Kitchener Public Library is celebrating by bringing out our beautiful Book Pedaler to parks and community events in downtown Kitchener. Check out where she’ll be in Summer 2019!

Looking for more local biking resources? Check out this list of great places to bike near you and access cycling maps and guides for Waterloo Region. Excited for the ION but still wanna cycle? No problem. Each ION passenger can bring one bike on board LRT trains with them!

Interested in local Aboriginal history? Explore important sites and cultural landmarks on your bike using the Local Indigenous History and Culture Map, co-created by Kitchener Public Library and Archaeological Research Associates, Ltd. (ARA) in 2015.Aboriginal Sites Bike Map

Check out these great bike-related titles at Kitchener Public Library:


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Amplifying Local Authors

Writing is often a solitary pursuit, and rejections from publishers, emotionally challenging content and the pressure we put on ourselves to succeed can make it a pretty tough slog at the best of times – throw in those long, dark Canadian winters and you’ve got a recipe for too much whiskey and a tear-stained manuscript. Having a community who shares your interests can really help – not only personally, but professionally and creatively.

Kitchener Public Library aims to serve as an amplifier for the creative communities that already exist within our city, and provide them with resources to connect. Over time KPL has blossomed into a space for writers to gain contacts, skills and audiences. Some of the ways we do this are:

We hope local authors think of Kitchener Public Library as a place to create, inspire and connect, and that readers come to us when they want to Read Local.

Check out these great titles from local authors

 

 


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Please read something other than To Kill a Mockingbird

Throughout the month of February we’ve been featuring books about black history, and books, movies and music created by black artists, on our website and on display in our library locations.

Our February Free Flicks included BlacKKKlansman, Sorry to Bother You, and In the Heat of the Night. And we hosted a dance workshop – thank you to our partners, the Afro-Tribal Dancers!

afro dance workshop

As the month draws to a close, we want to share some resources to support you in reading, listening to, and supporting black artists all year long, as well as a few books that may help further your thoughts and conversations about race and racism in this community and in this country.
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Let’s talk about mental wellness

bell lets talk

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day to focus on reducing stigma around mental illness, raise awareness of mental wellness, and raise funds for mental health initiatives.
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Celebrating 10 years of LSP

It’s Library Settlement Partnership Week in Canada, and we’re proudly celebrating our 10-year anniversary in partnership with the KW Multicultural Centre and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

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