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Upcoming Book Discussions and Programs: The Value of Open Spaces

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By Brian DeLuca

The Roland Park Branch, in collaboration with the Open Space Campaign for Greater Roland Park, is hosting a three-part book discussion series this winter and spring. The books in this series were chosen for their relevance to the theme of "The Value of Open Space". The Roland Park Civic League’s Open Spaces Campaign grew out of the 2010 Greater Roland Park Master Plan, and it is in the process of raising money for several initiatives in the community such as restoration of the Roland Water Tower, improvements to Stoney Run Valley, and replanting the neighborhood’s tree canopy. A more detailed discussion of the campaign is available on the Roland Park website.

Librarians at the branch selected two of the three titles in the series and asked the community to vote for the third title out of a number of books featured in the library's regular column, The Book Nook, in the Winter 2012-13 edition of the Roland Park News (pdf). Thank you to the Roland Park Library Action Group, our Friends of the Library group, who generously purchased copies of all three titles that the library can give out to people who want to attend the discussions.

What the Robin Knows CoverOn Saturday, March 9th, a dozen readers met for the first discussion of the series. What the Robin Knows by Jon Young was the non-traditional, but very appropriate, title for our first discussion. Young is a lifelong naturalist and master of what he calls "deep bird language." Young has spent his entire career trying to figure out how birds use sounds to communicate information about their environment to other birds and even other species. Hunter-gather cultures used their knowledge of this bird language to aid them in hunting, finding food, fitting in with their local environment, and avoiding predators and danger.

Roland Park Book Discussion
What the Robin Knows book discussion group, March 9

Young’s book never gets too technical and teaches you how to better understand the world of your backyard. Visit the book’s website to hear samples of different kinds of bird calls and their meanings.

Central Park in the DarkOur second discussion will be on April 13 at 11am. The book will be Central Park in the Dark: More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife by Marie Winn. Winn spent years examining the lives of the denizens of Central Park, both animal and people, that inhabit one of America’s great urban parks after the sun goes down.

Our last discussion will be on May 11 at 11am on the book Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability by David Owen. Owen turns the green movement on its head by suggesting that a densely populated, urban core is more environmentally friendly than living in the suburbs or in the country. You can register for both or either of these discussions and receive free copies of the books at the second floor information desk at the Roland Park Branch.

Green Metropolis CoverThe library has also partnered with Blue Water Baltimore to provide two additional programs as part of this series. Blue Water Baltimore’s mission is to restore the quality of Baltimore’s waterways for the good of the environment, the community, and the economy. On March 20th, we will be presenting a program titled "Creating an Eco-Friendly Home: The Impact of Your Home on the Chesapeake Bay"; this will be proceeded by a short, interactive story called "Who Polluted the Bay." Lastly, on May 4th, Blue Water Baltimore returns with Herring Run Nursery for a program called "Birds, Bees, and Butterflies: Ecosystem Gardening for Baltimore". The vast majority of flowering plants rely on pollinators, and this program will teach you how birds, bees, and butterflies to your backyard.

Libraries serve as the heart and soul of their community and can be a nexus for the connection between community groups, ideas, and the people living in the neighborhood. "The Value of Open Spaces" series at the Roland Park Branch shows how a library can be responsive and proactive to community initiatives, can provide a community gathering space, and be an active partner with other groups in the city.


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