Friday, May 17, 2013

Gardening Resources: Your Local Library

Every time that I venture down to my local branch of the Queens Library, I make sure to do two things. The first is to stop by the "Go Green" shelves that are conveniently located right in the entrance. This is invariably full of books with titles like The City Homesteader, Urban Gardening for Dummies, and The Essential Urban Farmer.  I like to browse, and pick up whatever strikes my fancy. This has led to some spectacularly good reads, as well as some quite mediocre ones. (The Bountiful Container was an excellent resource; Paradise Lot was pretty good; and A World without Bees, despite the important subject matter, was barely worth the paper it was written on.)

The second thing to do at the library is to check out the bulletin board and the card rack, which advertise upcoming library programs. In the past few months, I've been to a program on backyard chickens, and one on growing mushrooms. Just today, I picked up cards for "Plant Propagation Workshop," "Bike Repair: Fix-A-Flat," and "Urban Cycling 101." There have probably been a dozens of other cool programs I couldn't attend but would have liked to. Most of these programs are free of charge, and lots of them even include free giveaways. Several people went home from the mushroom workshop with mushroom growing kits (I wasn't one of the lucky ones!) and apparently participants in the upcoming plant propagation workshop get to take home cuttings to grow at home, while both biking workshops are giving out flat repair kits.

Upcoming Queens Library workshops!

The other key resource at the library is the request function. Although my small branch doesn't have every book I need, the Queens Library system has almost everything I could imagine.* Whether I'm looking for Suzanne Ashworth's Seed to Seed or Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, I can request it and have it at my library in days. (Or sometimes, in months - someone must keep renewing Wild Fermentation, because I've been at the top of the queue for months now and still haven't received it!)

If you're a gardener on a budget, you don't need to go out and spend a fortune on gardening books. Your local library may offer everything from classes and workshops to fun and interesting books to practical instruction guides.

*I recently used WorldCat to discover that a book about my great-grandparents' Italian hometown exists no closer than Switzerland, but I suppose you can't have everything!

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