The vision of a “Little Library by the Sea” emerged as a response to the observed lack of understanding and appreciation for the intertidal ecosystem in our seaside community. As a marine educator, I hoped that if people had access to resource materials that were easy to understand and easy to obtain access to, this would better increase their understanding of the biodiversity that they live so close to. After obtaining grant funding to cover materials, it took six months of persistent efforts to secure approval from the city to install the library at Fillinger Waterfront Park One. Once the bureaucratic hurdles were cleared, the logistical challenges presented themselves. Unexpected winter weather, including snow, imposed delays on the installation process.
On a foggy winter morning, the library took its place at the park, offering carefully curated resources, including field guides and educational materials. Decorated with custom-painted sea life images, the library is sure to stand out to anyone walking by. The library, with its diverse collection, serves as a valuable asset for community members exploring the intertidal zone. Its placement in Fillinger Waterfront Park positions it as a beacon of knowledge, providing accessible resources for those seeking to comprehend the biodiversity surrounding them.
The positive feedback received from the community is already indicative of the library’s impact. Families, children, and adults alike are engaging with the materials, deepening their understanding of the coastal ecosystem. As we transition from the challenges of installation to the rewards of community engagement, the “Little Library by the Sea” stands as a symbol of our collective commitment to education and appreciation for our coastal home.
Moving forward, the library will be continually monitored to ensure that enough resource materials are being used as intended and will be topped up with donations from the community, in addition to materials that I can access through my work. We hope that people will share their experience online through the #littlelibrarybythesea tag so we can get an idea of the ways that people are using the library and its resources. With its resources readily available, we aim to empower individuals to explore, learn, and appreciate the rich biodiversity that surrounds them.