A recent article in American Libraries magazine discussed chance collisions between people with interests and people or places with information. These “collisions” happen in libraries every day and have been known to be life-changing. It might be the chance meeting of two people who discover they have something in common. It can happen between a reader and a story that sparks a dream, dissolves isolation or creates insight. It can happen between a listener and a piece of music that speaks beyond words to the soul. Encounters by chance or design happen multiple times every day. At the library we are aware that we have access to what can inspire, encourage, or give direction to the person who is seeking to know. The encounter with the right information does not need to be complicated or difficult. It can be simple enough for children to understand. Sometimes these collisions of information and experience happen when we take a trip outside the library.
In the Youth Library at Camp Verde Community Library we are fortunate to have patrons who invite us along on adventures with potential chance collisions. Recently we were invited to join Southwest Monarch Study as citizen scientists to learn about netting, tagging and observing monarch butterflies. The mission of Southwest Monarch Study is to:
- Identify and describe the migration and breeding patterns of Monarch Butterflies in the Western United States.
- Provide a meaningful research project for citizen scientists of all ages.
- Encourage and monitor Monarch Butterfly conservation.
As we are planning for a new library and thinking about future landscaping, we are exploring the possibility of plantings that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other birds for observation and appreciation outside our Children’s Library and spilling on over into Rezzonico Family Park. We are especially intrigued by the idea of creating a Monarch way-station that will support Monarchs with milkweed in their migrations across the southwest.
When the librarians and families arrived at the site off Salt Mine Road on this particular day, Gail Morris and her team had just found a male monarch that hatched from its chrysalis. Children and adults were delighted to watch as this little butterfly stretched its wings for the first time. We also learned how organizations such as Southwest Monarch Study tag butterflies as they migrate. Who knew a simple sticker would do the job without damaging the butterfly wing?
Gail then took us into the field to find caterpillars, and boy did we find them! There was a lot of milkweed, which is a Monarch caterpillar’s main diet and we found caterpillars munching away. If you sit really still and quiet, you can even hear them crunching.
We finished off our trip by finding some chrysalis, and learned about how few of these beautiful creatures will actually survive this stage of their life. All in all it was a wonderful day out in the fields of Camp Verde. Not only did the kids get to spend some time outside, but they had the chance to observe firsthand the different stages of Monarch butterflies. As an added bonus they spent some time with Tony the Llama and 4 cows next door.
Adventures outside the library allow our story time kids and their families to have hands-on learning experiences that promote comprehension as they see the connection between what they read and what they experience. Hands-on learning can also create a desire to learn more about a particular subject. Since our trip to Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale this summer we have seen an increased interest in butterfly books. Thanks to wonderful patrons like Lisa J. who invited us on a Camp Verde butterfly adventure, we got to explore the world of butterflies up close and in person. Who knows what future butterfly-lover will come out of this experience and what he/she will add to our world.