Note: The scheduled Saturday, March 18 Migrate to Discovery and Adventure event has been rescheduled to Saturday, April 1, due to inclement weather.
While books, CDs, and DVDs are still among the Free Library’s most checked-out materials, we’re proud of the many non-traditional items our customers can borrow across the system, from ties at the Paschalville Library to musical instruments at the Parkway Central Music Department and a variety of other fun things that make you stop and say, "I didn’t know I could get that at the library!"
The latest on this list are birding backpacks! These backpacks will soon be available to borrow at three neighborhood libraries: Andorra, Cecil B. Moore, and Widener! Each pack will include a pair of binoculars, maps, and a field guide. Philadelphia is a city with many parks and rich biodiversity, and our customers will soon be able to borrow the packs and see nature in a new and up-close way! The Free Library will debut the packs at a very special free event, Migrate to Discovery and Adventure, on March 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the park near 33rd and Oxford Streets. This is the site of the future Discovery Center on the banks of the East Park Reservoir in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. It is sure to be a fun-filled, adventure-packed day, featuring the birding backpacks, guided bird-watching tours, music, food, fire pits, hot chocolate, and a climbing wall!
The Andorra Library is located at one of the highest elevations in the city and sits between the Wissahickon Valley Park and bluffs that overlook the Schuylkill River. The Upper Roxborough Reservoir is also within walking distance of the library. The Widener and Cecil B. Moore libraries are both located near East Park and the site of the future Discovery Center, an environmental education center set to open in 2018. These great neighborhood features are just a few of the great spots you can try out our binoculars!
The Free Library has partnered with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, as well as BirdPhilly, to provide ongoing related programming including lectures and guided tours. The Environmental Education Program Planner at the Wissahickon Environmental Center, Tony Croasdale, also leads BirdPhilly, which provides guided birding tours and many other wonderful resources, including an interactive map of great birding areas.
The lecture series at the Andorra library is already underway! The next lecture, Birding by Sound, will take place on March 21 at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public! The Andorra Library is also planning to offer outdoor nature storytimes in the Wissahickon Valley Park this spring. A series of programs will also take place at the Widener and Cecil B. Moore libraries. Stay tuned for more information as they hit our event calendar!
The birding backpack program was originally part of a Hatching Innovation proposal submitted by JoAnne Woods, Branch Manager of the Andorra Library. Hatching Innovation is a contest that funds innovative ideas thought up by staff members throughout the Free Library of Philadelphia. This idea evolved and took flight (!) thanks to many wonderful partners including: