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A Living Library = A. L. L.

A Living Library provides a powerful systemic framework, methodology, and strategy for creating placed-based, ecological change in schools and communities - locally and globally.

A Living Library (A.L.L.) incorporates local resources, and transforms them to become vibrant, content-rich, ecological learning landscapes; each branch linked to another.

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Updated by @alivinglibrary

Recent Updates

Apr30

A Living Library: Cultivating The Human & Ecological Garden – Presentation By Bonnie Ora Sherk

Please enjoy A Living Library:  Cultivating the Human & Ecological Garden, a Presentation by Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director ofLife Frames, Inc. A Living Library.

Apr22

PRESS RELEASE: SF Rec and Park Partners with A Living Library to Celebrate Earth Day

Contact: Connie Chan - 415-895-0689, connie.chan@sfgov.org
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

SF Rec and Park Partners with A Living Library to Celebrate Earth Day Living Library Nature Walk Connects San Francisco Parks and Neighborhoods

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SAN FRANCISCO – In honor and celebration of Earth Day, 2015, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in partnership with A Living Library announced the completion of interpretive signage for the Living Library Nature Walk. The Living Library Nature Walk takes place in San Francisco parks and other community resources throughout the Islais Creek Watershed, which is now continuing its development to be the largest trail to interlink eleven neighborhoods including, Noe Valley, Mission, Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, Bayview, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, Ocean View, Merced Heights, and Ingleside, Sunnyside, Glen Park and possibly more.

"Earth Day is really Every Day ! So, we are creating the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk as a wonderful way to link the rich resources in this community, and showcase the currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park and Highway 280, by planting this new, narrative California native landscape,” said Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder and Director of A Living Library. “The opportunity is to expand this Nature Walk to interconnect the eleven neighborhoods of the Islais Creek Watershed - the largest in San Francisco, and demonstrate how we are all interconnected with each other, and diverse species of plants and animals."

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According to Earth Day Network, Earth Day is honored around the world on April 22, although larger events such as festivals and rallies are often organized for the weekends before or after April 22. Many communities also observe Earth Week or Earth Month, organizing a series of environmental activities throughout the month of April.

“SF Rec and Park’s partnership with A Living Library is our overall efforts to raise awareness for the importance of green space and to encourage community stewardship of our neighborhood parks,” said, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “The Living Library Nature Walk showcases how parks can connect our communities, as well as the innovation of sustainable landscape that can tackle many environmental challenges including climate change, wild habitat restoration and so much more. It is a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.”

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Since 2002, SF Rec and Park has been in partnership with Life Frames, Inc., non-profit sponsor of A Living Library coordinating the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk. The program links local schools, parks, public housing, streets and other open spaces leading to the Islais Creek.

The goal of A Living Library is to connect people in a sustainable, ecological environment, and call attention to the importance of California Native Trees and the Islais Creek Watershed. Other city agency partners in this initiative include: San Francisco Housing Authority, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco Department of Public Works, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

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Mar04

High School Students Volunteer To Support A Living Library

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Students (Camille Bersonda, Edmund Cruz, Kevin Zheng & Erica Narciso) from San Mateo High School, led by Erica Narciso, met recently with Bonnie Ora Sherk and Manisha Dhar to discuss ways to support A Living Library. Their written statements of why they want to be involved with A.L.L. are shown below:

My interest in your program was because that you really want to reach out to schools and spread the topic of the importance of ecology. I believe your goals and lessons are very essential and the work you guys have done for recreation and beautification are worth being noticed. So, I would like to offer my help in such a program with my knowledge of technology in order for A Living Library to get more attention and spread the word over the internet. I think what you are trying to accomplish deserves more credit and respect and I look forward to working with this program.
- Camille Bersonda

Personally, the idea of incorporating ecology and redesigning school communities is great for the students to enjoy as well as appreciate the wonders of nature. Once A.L.L (A Living Library) can get more of its voice globally, then students from everywhere will be educated and astounded by how nature can be beautiful and educational. Helping A.L.L as a volunteer will ensure that A.L.L is one step closer to sharing its magic of nature from one to all. From planting trees, making mosaics, and helping the environment gives great benefits of both being much greener and much more creative when it comes to the community.
- Edmund Cruz

In my search for a volunteer opportunity related to computer sciences, I came across A Living Library through VolunteerMatch.com and assumed the given task would simply be to create or modify website for a library. However, A Living Library is not your typical library, a silent building filled with books, its knowledge is centered around parks where children and adults alike come together to learn a countless amount of subjects. Similarly, the internet gives people a boundless amount of information but sitting at your desktop or laptop or being at school all day is not the same as being in the great outdoors and interacting with others, an opportunity that A.L.L opens up by branching out and creating Think Parks. The hands-on experience as well as the connections that can be formed between people and nature is what makes A Living Library unique and fresh, a stark contrast to today’s technological age, but highly necessary.
- Erica Narciso

A Living Library has contributed to numerous communities by setting forth projects that bring ecological innovation and building a learning place within those communities. Think Parks in Chinatown and Excelsior for example, bring children and adults alike to participate in local gardening and teaching the youth about how important it is to create a culture that will last for years to come. As a student recently joining A.L.L., I have explored their goals and would love to take part in their mission to create a better community through education, shared experiences, and a positive attitude. My next steps would be to visit A.L.L’s programs at schools and libraries to see how they work and if its possible to volunteer at those locations.
- Kevin Zheng

Feb23

A Living Library Instructor Discusses Weeds With Students

3rd & 4th graders from San Miguel Child Development Center have a discussion with A.L.L. Instructor, Adam Long about the nature of weeds and the many different kinds, as they sit in the Redwood Reading Circle at the OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park in San Francisco.  Later students apply their knowledge about pulling weeds in the Farm Learning Zone, all shown below.   IMG_8212_Fotor_Collage_Fotor__1424126859_73.15.149.33
Feb18

Bonnie Ora Sherk Discusses The Meaning of A Living Library With Young Students

IMG_7937_Fotor_Collage_Fotor__1424126135_73.15.149.33Students from Junipero Serra Elementary School learned about the meanings and metaphor of A Living Library in a discussion led by Bonnie Ora Sherk, as part of a class in the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Afterschool Program. Afterwards, the children incorporated their ideas and made an illustrated book describing A.L.L.
Through a lively discussion, children learned:   A Living Library of Diversity on Earth and in Space includes: People, Birds, Trees, Air, Water, Plants, and the things we create, such as Parks, Gardens, Schools, Curricula, Artworks, Networks, Communities, and Celebrations. A Living Library demonstrates that Culture and Technology are part of Nature. It is all Nature!
Feb09

Another Fantastic Salesforce Volunteer Group Grows A Living Library Nature Walk !

Helen Chan led another fantastic Salesforce Volunteer Event on December 17 in St. Mary's Park planting California Native Understory Plants in the Oak Allee, adding beauty and health to the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Nature Walk. IMG_7955_Foto<em>r_Collage_Fotor__1423168042_73.15.149.33 This planting was accomplished in conjunction with Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director, Life Frames, Inc. and A Living Library Nature Walk, and John Miller, Park Supervisor, SF Recreation & Park Department. This Living Library Nature Walk is linking multiple parks, schools, public housing, and streets, leading to currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park, near Highway 280 in San Francisco. The Nature Walk is a prototype for what can be occurring throughout the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in SF that interlinks eleven communities in southeast and southwest SF, through creating a new, narrative native landscape interconnecting diverse community assets and resources, framed by the Watershed. Also, proposed is development of Northern & Southern Gateways to the Watershed, that would incorporate the currently derelict 101 Freeway Interchanges at Chavez/Potrero/Bayshore (to become Northern Gateway) and Alemany/Industrial Way/Bayshore (to become Southern Gateway).  More about this exciting opportunity later. Stay tuned.......
Sep15

Bonnie Ora Sherk Discusses A Living Library on ROOSTERGNN, Global News Network !

OMI:ExcelsiorGardenView8-14 Astrophysicist, Sinziana Paduroiu, interviewed Bonnie Ora Sherk about A Living Library and her earlier Life Frames for ROOSTERGNN, Global News Network.  Here is the published version, A Living Library - Cultivating the Human & Ecological Garden, which appeared online on September 9, 2014. Enjoy ! OMI before and after Chinatown before & after 2Nature Walk Planting 1A
Sep13

Radio Interview With Bonnie Ora Sherk Features A Living Library & Islais Creek Watershed !

IMG_7251 ViewIntoRedwoodCircleBouldersBonnie Ora Sherk was interviewed on KPOO FM, 98.5 on Connecting the Dots by Judy Drummond on August 28, 2014.  Bonnie Ora discussed A Living Library and all the Branch Living Library & Think Parks underway in San Francisco and New York City, and multiple opportunities to develop Branches around the world.  Listen to the Broadcast here ! In the interview,  she also talked about the Living Library Nature Walk, that is underway, and is a model for the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in SF that interconnects eleven neighborhoods, that could eventually link community resources like schools, parks, public housing, streets, and other open spaces through development of a new, narrative landscape, with other features, including the daylighting of Creeks where possible.
Aug17

Another Great Salesforce Crew Volunteers To Plant Living Library Nature Walk !

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On August 14 another great group from Salesforce led by Aditya Devhar, joined forces with Life Frames Inc.'s, Bonnie Ora Sherk, and Recreation and Park Deparment Staff in Holly Park, to plant more California Natives in the Living Library Nature Walk.  On this day, their work focused on the Children's Playground in the Park.  Ceanothus, Matilja Poppies, and fragrant Salvia were planted under the existing Ceanothus Ray Hartman trees that had been planted earlier as part of the Nature Walk.

IMG_7501The Living Library Nature Walk is linking multiple parks, schools, public housing, and streets in the area through a new narrative landscape, all leading to the currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park.  This Nature Walk is a prototype for what could be happening throughout the Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in San Francisco that interconnects eleven neighborhoods in Southeast and Southwest San Francisco

Everyone had a great time on this day, and the area is greatly improved !  See for yourself !

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Aug17

A.L.L. ECO-Stewards Learn Green Skills & Help With Planting & Plant Establishment of Living Library Nature Walk

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This summer a group of neighborhood High School youth from nearby Alemany Dwellings were paid interns who met three days a week and learned green skills by helping with the planting and plant establishment of the California natives in the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Nature Walk in St. Mary's Park.  They received a monetary stipend for their work, while also making a contribution to their community.  Have a look at these young people at work !

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Aug09

Thriving Redwood Circle in Living Library Nature Walk Lands Beautiful Boulders & Native Understory Plantings

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We are so excited that our Redwood Circle in the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk at the south side of St. Mary's Park circling Alemany Farm near the currently hidden Islais Creek, is very healthy and growing ! 

John Miller from SF Recreation & Park Department (RPD), and I, found, purchased, and planted four gorgeous boulders on July 18, to help define the entrance to the Redwood Circle planted with California Native Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens).  Funds from our grant with California Strategic Growth Council were used.

This Living Library Nature Walk is a prototype, narrative, ecological landscape transformation, that could be occurring throughout the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest watershed in San Francisco, that interconnects eleven neighborhoods.  In Bernal Heights, this Nature Walk is connecting multiple schools, parks, public housing, streets, and other open spaces calling attention to the Watershed, the Islais Creek, and diverse native species of plants and wildlife.Lyngso Bouldersjohn&boulders Boulders PlacedTwo days later, on July 20th, we hosted two volunteer groups to plant the entrance area, and add native riparian understory plants in our Redwood Circle plant community, as well as some large Dogwood trees (Cornus nuttallii) and native shrubs on the nearby hillside.  Our plant palette included a few varieties of Dogwood, California Rose, Sword Ferns, Wild Ginger, Redwood Sorrel, Woodland Strawberries, Huckleberry, and other species. It is beautiful !

Young Adults from Jewish Community Federation began the morning planting, and the NYC  YMCA Global Teens High School Students representing every NYC Borough, participated in the PM Volunteer Group, along with Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director of A.L.L., Craig Heckman of the Alemany Farm's Native Area Group, Jasmine Woo, our Summer Nature Walk Intern, Brian from RPD, and Yiwen Gong who came from Yale University to participate ! 

Everyone had a fantastic time, and hundreds of native plants were planted.  Our Redwood Landscape is growing and becoming a more lush environment!  Have a look !

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JewishCommFedGroupAnd, then the PM Group, the NYC High School Students came to the site, and finished all the planting !  A great day and a beautiful transformation !  The Redwood Circle is so beautiful and a wonderful place for respite !!!  It is our natural cathedral in the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk in St. Mary's Park

Thank you all, for your generous help and contribution to growing the Living Library Nature Walk  !!!

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A Living Library, Life Frame, Think Park, & A.L.L. are registered trademarks

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