The first-ever book on library gardens

For Immediate Release
Wed, 04/03/2019


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Roman philosopher Cicero once remarked that “if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Today, libraries nationwide are beginning to incorporate gardens into their public services. Libraries in the southwestern US, for instance, are creating drought-tolerant gardens as neighborhood demonstration projects, while elsewhere gardens are being used to promote community engagement and even STEM learning. Citing examples of library gardens around the world that are thriving, Carrie Scott Banks and Cindy Mediavilla’s “Libraries and Gardens: Growing Together,” published by ALA Editions, not only demonstrates the many benefits of library gardens but also provides a complete overview of issues applicable to all library types and geographical environments. Featuring a full-color photo insert showcasing several beautiful library gardens, among the topics covered in the book are:

  • a brief history of libraries and gardens, with an overview of such “demonstration gardens” as medicinal and herbal gardens, native plant gardens, xeriscapes, and gardens as wildlife sanctuaries;
  • the use of plants, such as living walls and rooftop gardens, to create ecologically healthy, sustainable environments;
  • gardens as learning environments and spaces for storytimes and active play;
  • food gardens, seed libraries, sensory gardens, outdoor reading areas, prison garden programs, and many other ways that libraries can engage communities;
  • guidance on designing for inclusivity, planning, funding, staffing, recruiting volunteers, and planting and maintenance, complete with advice on determining the best plants to cultivate; and
  • ideas on evaluating the effectiveness of library gardens and the program opportunities they offer.

Banks has worked with and on behalf of children with disabilities since high school. Taking over Brooklyn Public Library’s Inclusive Services in 1997, she created their gardening program in 1999. She taught inclusion at Pratt Institute from 2013 to 2015 and conducts inclusion trainings across the United States and Canada. Her substantially revised edition of “Including Families of Children with Special Needs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians” was published in 2014. Mediavilla is the author of several books, including “Creating & Managing the Full-Service Homework Center.” In 2007 she and her husband converted their home lawns to drought-tolerant California native plant gardens. Their home has been featured on several garden tours, including Theodore Payne Foundation’s prestigious annual tour.

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