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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Great Idea: One Book One Garden

Last year I was approached by The Chicago Botanic Gardens Lenhardt Library to help them start a brand new program entitled, One Book One Garden. The Lenhardt Library is international known for their rare book collection. They are very generous with how they share these materials both digitally and in person. 
However, the staff of this wonderful treasure of a library want to expand their reach and not only share their old, rare books, but also, start current conversations surrounding books about nature. To that end they have begun One Book One Garden.
They knew that people are always interested in seeing their unique collections, but often could not make their daytime open hours. They also knew that there were many popular science books focused on nature that fit with the Botanic Garden’s mission. They also already knew the Garden hosted many special events at all hours. So, why not have a series of evening book discussions at their special library? 
Way to think outside the box. Also, way to think about how to serve the entire community better. Science based conversations are obviously lacking out in the lay world, and we are now seeing the negative consequences of that in the political sphere. And without public funds, science suffers. They know this at the Chicago Botanic Garden. They have a successful outreach program which gives discounted visits to all Chicagoland residents through their public library cards. They understand that if the public cannot come to see what science is in their real life, how can we expect them to support it, let alone understand it.
The only thing they were missing to make this all happen was book discussion leadership experience. That’s where I come in. They contacted me and we set dates for March and November 2017. But the ultimate goal is for this to be a self sustaining program for them. So, staff from their library came to my RAILS book discussion leadership training. I will help them get this program off the ground. I am so excited for them.
I applaud the Lenhardt for starting a larger community conversation about natural science through book discussions. They want to invite anyone and everyone to participate and I am proud to be associated with these programs. 
I am also happily surprised at how quickly it is already filling up. As I have already mentioned, I really believe that 2017 is going to be a comeback year for the book discussion. So far, I appear to be correct in that prediction. Book discussions may be our only hope to start having conversations as a country- conversations where we actually listen to each other and don’t just have knee jerk responses to everything. Learning and change requires a two way conversation.
Today, I am posting the details on the specific discussion I will be leading next month in case you are able to sign up. [November’s details are not ready yet.] The Lenhardt has actively reached out to local public libraries. They really want these conversations to include as many different people from different experiences and places as possible. 
This is also commendable and one of the other reasons I am posting this today. All of you out there reading this, somewhere near you there is a special library that you could contact to work with. As a public library you are uniquely situated to help start conversations in the community. As a special library they bring something specialized to the conversation. Working together you can start a community conversation be it through a book discussion like this or just a program.
Use the Botanic Garden’s example to inspire you to reach out and work together too. All it takes is one phone call or email. That’s how we started. And what your community will gain is immesaurable. 
Here [and below] is all the info from their website. I hope to see some of you there. And if you live somewhere else and are doing a similar type program, please let me know.
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Join us for a discussion of Andrea Wulf’s most recent book, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World.
One Book One Garden

One Book One Garden

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Lenhardt Library
Free; pre-registration required
Join us for our new program, One Book One Garden—a book discussion at the Lenhardt Library.
One of the New York Times' Top 10 Books of 2015, our featured book is acclaimed author Andrea Wulf’s most recent journey of discovery, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World.
Wulf brings to life Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. Humboldt’s life was filled with adventure and discovery and he translated his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Called “the Shakespeare of the sciences” by his contemporaries, he inspired scientists, thinkers and writers including Darwin, Wordsworth and Jules Verne. Largely forgotten—despite his name gracing numerous towns, counties, bays, lakes, mountains, animals and more—Andrea Wulf’s in-depth research and compelling writing shows the myriad fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the world.
Selections from the Lenhardt Library’s Rare Book Collection related to Alexander von Humboldt will be available for viewing during the program.
The Invention of Nature Book CoverOur discussion will be led by reader’s advisor, Becky Spratford, who trains library staff all over the world to match books with readers and lead book discussions. Please register early as space is limited.
The Invention of Nature won the Costa Biography Award 2015, the 2016 LA Times Book Prize for Science and Technology, and was selected by New York Times “10 Best Books of 2015.” Read the Times review here
Andrea Wulf is the author of five books, including The Brother Gardeners and Founding Gardeners. She has written for The New York Times, the Financial TimesThe Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Wulf is also the winner of the prestigious Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2016 for The Invention of Nature.

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