A Living Library = A. L. L.

Everyone and everything on Earth and in Space is part of A Living Library of diversity: people, birds, trees, air, water, and all the things we create, such as - parks, gardens, schools, curricula, artworks, networks, communities, celebrations. A Living Library, or, A.L.L., for short, provides a way to understand that culture and technology are part of nature. It’s all nature.

A Living Library provides a powerful systemic framework, multiple methodologies and strategies for creating place-based, ecological change in communities and schools - locally and globally.

A.L.L. integrates local resources - past, present, future - and transforms them with community, to become vibrant, content-rich, art-filled, ecological learning landscapes; each Branch linked to another.

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Updated by @alivinglibrary

Recent Updates

Mar23

Students Transform Street and Their School Adding To Living Library Nature Walk

Mar. 23, 2016 Blog Post During the month of February, 2016, people from different parts of California came together to transform a street and add to the Living Library Nature Walk on Bernal Heights in San Francisco.  This ecological beautification project involved creating 12 new sidewalk garden beds on formerly sterile concrete sidewalks, and planting them with California Native Trees and Understory plants in front of Junipero Serra Elementary School on Holly Park Circle across from Holly Park. Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director of Life Frames, Inc. created the design for the planting, and then connected with the various San Francisco Departments that helped make it all possible.   The California Strategic Growth Council generously provided the funding for the project as part of their grant for the full Living Library Nature Walk throughout the neighborhood that is linking multiple schools, parks, public housing, streets, and other open spaces leading to the currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park. * Mar. 23, 2016 Blog Post In December, 2015, the SF Department of Public Works, led by Urban Forester, Chris Buck,  removed the concrete in order to create the new 12 garden beds - and enlarge some of the existing tree basins.  SF Unified School District Landscape Department led by Rick Maia delivered compost from Recology in order to improve the soil quality in the new garden beds.  Now it was time to get planting.  93 Students from Junipero Serra Elementary School led by A Living Library Teacher, Kristin DeRose took part in the planting.  It was the students excitement and enthusiasm to help beautify their school that really moved the project forward.  Once planting was complete, the SFUSD Landscape Department donated and delivered a huge pile of wood chips, which the students used to mulch the new garden beds.   There were so many extra wood chips that the students mulched all of the trees on the block !   Through this whole, hands-on learning and transformation project, students discussed the importance of planting natives to improve air quality, increase water percolation, restore the natural Watershed, and re-attract native wildlife species to the area. They also learned about diverse native California plant species, drought tolerant plants, and how this street planting will help improve the quality of life in this neighborhood.  The children were thrilled to be so empowered by their actions ! Students planted 5 trees, 18 native shrubs and 75 native Understory plants.  We plan to keep continue planting on the side street bordering the school as part of the Nature Walk. *  This Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park is a prototype for the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in San Francisco that interconnects eleven communities:  Bernal Heights, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, OMI, Sunnyside, Glen Park, Noe Valley, Mission, Potrero Hill, Bayview.  It is envisioned that this Nature Walk will be expanded to connect these communities by developing a new, expressive, resilient landscape interconnecting them where they have been disconnected by freeways and other streets.  We are also proposing that the Chavez/101 Freeway Interchange and the Alemany/101 Freeway Interchange become the Northern & Southern Gateways to the Islais Creek Watershed. Mar. 23, 2016 Blog Post
Jan26

Unexpected Outcomes !

As A Living Library Garden/Ecology/Multi-Arts/Nutrition/Health Teacher, I plan each lesson with an educational outcome in mind. For instance, last week I wanted the students to learn about different kinds of edible roots; we looked at examples of plants with “taproots,” like carrots, “tubers,” like potatoes, and “bulbs,” like onions and garlic. My goal is that each lesson in A Living Library Garden & Think Park at Juniperos Serra Elementary School has a hands-on component as well. For my root lesson, we started with a discussion and photos, and then planted potatoes and garlic in the garden. After I gave instructions and handed out garden tools, I was immediately met with opposition by three students in the class.

Hands on their hips, disgusted looks on their faces. “I don’t want to get my hands dirty!,” they exclaimed.  “Me too,” another retorted, “I hate when I get dirt on my fingernails!”

Planting Potatoes in the Garden

I showed them my hands, thoroughly covered in dirt. “REAL gardeners” I explained, “get their hands dirty, we will wash out hands after garden class.” Then, I went to get the other students started on planting.   Without much thought I turned around, and to my surprise the three “anti-dirty” students were hands deep in the soil, giggling and playing with a worm they had found. Minutes later I heard them enthusiastically call my name, “Ms. Kristin! Look at my hands,” smiling, they waved their soiled hands in my face, “I am a real gardener too!”

Dirty Hands!

I love how quickly children are willing to change their minds. Adults are so set in their ways, myself included.  We have steadfast opinions about what we like and don’t like, and we are not easily swayed otherwise. I think this trait can be detrimental, as we may miss out on new opportunities and experiences.

I would like to think that in five years, while my A Living Library Garden Students may not remember what a “taproot” or “tuber” is, they will have held on to the sensation of having their hands in the soil. They won’t be afraid to get their hands dirty, and they will dive into the opportunity to spend time amongst plants.

By Kristen DeRose

Dec29

Students Dig in at OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park

Middle and High School Students have been busy in the Living Library Gardens this Fall semester building a new worm farm, digging and planting water-recycling gardens, and cooking up healthy meals of freshly harvested vegetables at the  OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park. During the school day, five hundred students from science classes, special needs classes, as well as social studies and arts classes at James Denman Middle School and Leadership High School come to the garden regularly to learn ecology and science through interactive lessons and team garden activities.

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In a A Living Library's science classes, students discussed the severe drought in California and explored the concept of using local resources in the garden. Together, the classes made the water-wise choice to create a garden that reuses water from the sink in our garden kitchen.

Students cleared out an area next to the sink and shaped the earth into a "Grey water Oasis" complete with an island, native flowers, herbs and cattail pond. Now the water we use to wash hands and dishes has created a vibrant ecosystem enjoyed by the students as well as the butterflies and hummingbirds. A.L.L. Green Futures Eco-Stewards in the after-school program decided to repurpose the old garden sink into a new Worm Farm and built a frame and walls. The A.L.L Eco-Stewards learned how to make a sketch of their idea, measure the wood pieces, and safely use saws, hammers and nails to put together this cozy new home for the worms.

A.L.L. Eco-Stewards measure and cut wood for Worm Farm and enjoy new Grey-Water Garden Oasis that they created.

During science class, students come into the garden to learn about healthy nutrition, harvest fresh vegetables, cook and share food together. In addition to the gardening and building projects, students harvested fresh chard, zucchini, kale, carrots, radishes, beans, and other vegetables from the Gardens and cooked a range of healthy dishes together.

Students prepared dishes with whole grains and vegetables including a tempeh stir fry with black rice, vegetable sushi, quinoa salad with greens and beets, as well as sweet treats such as rice pudding and oatmeal with fresh fruit and spices.

A.L.L. Eco-Stewards wash and prepare vegetables they harvested in the garden.

 We wish to thank the students from James Denman Middle Schools and Leadership High School who cooperatively worked together to make many improvements in their Living Library & Think Park Gardens, Redwood Reading Circle, Farm Learning Zone, and Fruit Orchard this Fall. We are thankful for the recent rains and looking forward to a Spring 2016 Semester filled with many fun days learning in the garden together!

By Grace Dowd
Sep30

A Living Library SF Fall ’15 After School Paid Internship Programs: A.L.L.Eco-Stewards & A.L.L. Green Futures

San Francisco, CA:  Happy Fall to all! A Living Library is pleased to offer a range of PAID after school Internships & Leadership Opportunities to High School & Middle School students this semester. For High School Students to Age 24: FALL15 ALL EcoStewards Flyer IMAGE Click the Links to view/download PDFs: FALL15 ALL Eco-Stewards Flyer Fall15 ALL Eco-Stewards Application FALL15 Green Futures Flyer HD IMG FALL15 A.L.L. Green Futures Flyer FALL15 ALL Green Futures Application Please contact Grace to discuss internship opportunities. Individualized internships may be available to suit the applicant's interests and strengths. Join the A.L.L. Team today to start cultivating a bright and healthy future in your neighborhood!    
Sep30

FREE Program For Parents & Children with A Living Library & Roosevelt Island Public Library

Please join us again for this exciting Free hands-on learning Program for PARENTS & CHILDREN TOGETHER in NYC on Roosevelt Island !

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A.L.L. Gardening, Literacy, Multi-Arts, Science, Nutrition,

Local History/Ecology 

FREE PROGRAM with

A LIVING LIBRARY & RI BRANCH PUBLIC LIBRARY

Wednesday Afternoons This Fall

September 30 – November 18 | 3:30-5:00 p.m.

RI Living Library & Think Park

Register Now at the RI Library - 524 Main Street, Roosevelt Island 

Enrollment Limited to 25 Families

(Caregivers included) with Children (ages 4-14)

TALK, THINK, FEEL & DO !!!!

Come Grow With Us!

For More Information Contact:

Nicole Nelson: 212-308-6243 / Premilla Dixit Hobbs: 845-443-0386

You can download the application here

© 2017 Life Frames, Inc. & A Living Library

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

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