What is a plant library? Compare and Contrast

What is a plant library?

We are all familiar with our public or school library. They are these great quiet places where we go to learn, research, read and check out books. Have you ever thought about a plant library? They are in some ways just like your book library. They are places you go that are quiet but they are much larger. They are some times large enough to drive through.  (like an arboretum)

If we compare and contrast our two libraries we find many things the same but some big differences as well. Our book libraries are inside to protect the books from weather but our plant library, like Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, is outdoors because the plants need the sunshine and rain to grow. The plants do need protection from animals who might like to eat them so they have a large fence around this wild garden.

We use both libraries to learn from. They are places to do research about things we are interested in. Our book library can tell us about a large variety of topics like where do tigers live. In contrast the plant “library” has specific information about plants.  In our garden the plants are wildflowers, trees and birds. Your reading is really not reading words but looking at the live plants and learning from the Naturalists who are there to help us. This kind of research is very different than reading in books and looking up information on a computer. Although our naturalist sometimes do that as well.

We think about libraries as collections. This is another way that these libraries are alike.   They are both collections of things and are divided into sections. The books are divided into genres – fiction, mysteries, biographies, and so on. Our plants are also in sections because plant like to live in specific places. There is the woodland area, the swamp and bog (where it is really wet) or the highland prairie. Each section has different species of plants just like our book genres.  Most plant ” libraries” also have visitors center where you will find books about plants, birds and maybe the history of the garden.

The Bog

Another way the libraries are the same is that they both receive items – books, cd’s, movies, flower, and  trees. (Animals come to the garden but they are wild and come and go as they please.) The big difference between our two libraries is that you can check out books to bring home that is not something that happens at the garden library. New plants get planted at the garden but they are not checked out or sold.  This is more like a reference library. These materials are for use only at the garden like reference materials at your public library.  ( Books you can only read or use at the library)

The Prairie

It is pretty cool how each of these libraries are the same and different. In your science journal make a compare and contrast chart (Venn diagram) that shows all the ways these libraries are the same and different?

Can you find a plant “library” in your community?  Here in Minneapolis, Minnesota we have the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to name just a couple. Look around, ask at the public library or your teachers where you might find a plant “library” in your area. Maybe an animal “library” would be fun to see as well – that might be your local zoo.

Leave me a comment if you know if plant “libraries” in your community. What kind of plants can you find?   Do you have a favorite plant?  I know you have a favorite book as well.  Let us know – maybe you have a favorite plant book to share.

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Garden Learning, science notebook, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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