According to an old saying, “You reap what you sow,” and that is certainly the case at the Shaker Heights Public Library this summer as we began using funds provided through a State Library of Ohio grant. Our project, entitled “Food for Thought—Growing Community Gardens,” was awarded $5,175 through a federal Library Services & Technology Act program, “Growing Community: The Library Food Garden.”
Our grant partners are the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, and a new group called the Community Gardens of Shaker Heights. Each partner received $700 for supplies and the two non-Library entities were given $100 for equipment. The Library is also using $600 for equipment, $650 for programs and publicity, and $1,825 for library materials (on such subjects as gardening, sustainability, food, and the environment).
The Library has used the Reading Garden at the Bertram Woods Branch Library as the site of many of its plantings. Besides potted tomatoes and eggplants, dill, peppers, onions, cilantro, and sunflowers were planted. In addition, hanging tomato plants and a straw bale garden with zucchini and cucumber plants were located so as to be visible from the play area of the Children’s section. Beyond the building on the same side, facing Warrensville Center Road, a small orchard of twelve dwarf pear trees was planted.
At the time of the Ice Cream Social on June 11, the trees were already sprouting leaves and the Reading Garden vegetables were off to a good start. By June 25 when the 50th anniversary of the Bertram Woods Branch was celebrated, the pear trees were well on their way and appear to be on schedule to produce some fruit within a couple of years. The vegetable garden has shown tremendous growth and we may see the harvest begin before month’s end. Our plan is to donate this food over time to local charities.
If you are interested in learning more about community gardening locally, you can go to Community Gardens of Shaker Heights at: www.gardensofshaker.org. Also, you may want to attend our “Straw Bale Gardening” program with urban gardener Maurice Small on Thursday, July 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bertram Woods Branch. And watch for our end-of-the-summer “Salsa Celebration” which will be advertised soon!
Don’t forget that “Reading = Fun and Games at Shaker Library,” the summer reading program for 2010 continues through the end of the month. We could not do any of these programs without the generous support of Friends of the Shaker Library, which will be holding their Annual Meeting with guest speaker and Plain Dealer writer, Regina Brett, on Tuesday, July 13, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The public is invited to this event. Among other things, Ms. Brett will be discussing her book, God Never Blinks, a collection of essays and stories about the 50 lessons life taught her. Following the program, her book will be available for sale and signing. If you are interested, you can reserve a place at: