Taking the library outdoors

The Greenlee County Library System received a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant in May in the amount of $18,445. This project is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The funds will be used at the Clifton, Duncan and Blue libraries.

The focus of this grant will be to get Greenlee public libraries involved with outdoor activities within the county. The libraries plan to promote geocaching, rock hounding, stargazing, bird watching, and StoryWalks© with these funds.

The Library System hopes to accomplish three major goals with this grant:

• Promote wellness and physical activity for individuals and families through outdoor activities

• Create easy access to equipment which may be prohibitive for some families to purchase

• Promote Greenlee County tourism within the county by getting local residents to become familiar with what our local environment offers

GREENLEE ROCKHOUNDERS PROGRAMMING: The libraries will provide backpacks containing a first aid kit, rock hammer, trail maps, rock identification book, sample kit, checklist, pencils, spray bottles, water, ziplock bags and retractable hiking pole. This will be a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activity. These backpacks will be available at each library for checkout for up to 2 weeks at a time. Programming will also include presentations by local rock hound groups and hikes to look for rocks common to the area. By providing this programming, perhaps Greenlee County can start its own Rockhound group.

GREENLEE STARGAZERS PROGRAMMING: The libraries will provide binoculars, stands, star maps, activity sheets and phone app resources for identification of constellations and planets. This will be a STEM activity. The backpacks will be available at each library for checkout for up to 2 weeks at a time. Programming will include a presentation on constellation and planets by local experts and 1-2 stargazing nights with professional grade telescopes provided by the presenter.

GREENLEE BIRDWATCHERS PROGRAMMING: The libraries will provide backpacks, binoculars/monoculars, bird identification books, checklist, pencils, trail maps, and retractable hiking pole. This will be a STEM activity. These would be available at each library for checkout for up to 2 weeks at a time. Programming also includes presentations by Homer Hansen and planned hikes.

GREENLEE GEOCACHERS PROGRAMMING: The Library System plans to place geocaches throughout the county and purchase travel bugs for them. These caches will be registered with geocache.com which is an online registry. This will be a STEM activity. The information packet for this will include a direction sheet on using the geocache.com phone app, county maps, handheld GPS unit, pencils and small tradables. These would be available at each library for checkout for up to 2 weeks at a time. This idea also includes 2 presentations on what geocaching is and how residents can create their own geocaches.outdoor activities at library

GREENLEE STORY WALKS: StoryWalk® is an innovative and delightful way for children — and adults! — to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children’s book are attached to wooden poles, which are installed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you’re directed to the next page in the story. The Library System plans to place these in various approved areas around the county. These books will be changed every 2 months and promoted as not only a health and wellness idea but also an early literacy project.

ROCK ON GREENLEE PROJECTS: This activity will promote the Kindness Rocks Project as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activity. This is a nationwide project where rocks are painted by children and adults with a message of encouragement. The Library System will provide rocks, paint, markers and invite children and adults to participate in creating the Kindness Rocks at Libraries Rock On parties. The participants will then take their Kindness Rocks into the community to place on their own. These rocks are placed out in the environment for others to find and get involved by doing random acts of kindness for others. When you find a rock, you take a photo and post it on FaceBook saying where you found it and use the hashtag #GreenleeLibrariesRock in your post. Then you take the rock and hide it somewhere else. You can follow your rock by checking the #GreenleeLibrariesRock posts.

The Libraries hope to have the projects up and running by October of this year. Check with your local library to find out when the programming will be happening in the fall.

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