Central New York, Community, Education, Environment

Onondaga Free Library is Preparing Children for Earth Day

Librarian Maggie Gall welcomes library visitors to take part in an Earth Day craft. Children can create the continents and oceans of the world on a paper plate using recycled construction paper. (c) 2018 Payton May.


Click to hear about Onondaga Free Library’s plans to educate children about the environment this week.

Audio Transcript: EarthDayPrep

By Payton May Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)– Librarians at the Onondaga Free Library wants to spread the message this Earth Day that just like a book can have a new life in every new person’s hand that chooses to read it, every reused material can have a new life too once it is recycled.

Librarian Maggie Gall says because the library is about education and building community, it is a beneficial place to spread the message on saving the environment.

“Libraries are more than just four walls and a bunch of books today,” Gall said. “I think that’s a very antique view of what libraries are. Today they are really gathering places where people get together and create things, and do things together, and explore ideas.”

Gall thinks that just as there is a “makerspace” movement of hands-on, creative ways for students to design and experiment with science and engineering in the classroom, there is also a need for scientific exploration outside of the classroom. She said that educating children might be the pathway for a cleaner future.

“I think it’s important to educate children who are our future about what we’re doing to our planet right now,” Gall said. “Especially in America where we’re one of the leaders in pollution and excess of usage in all sorts of materials: plastic, water, you name it.”

The librarians’ of Onondaga Free Library have an initiative to educate the public on environmental issues that includes activities for children and adults. Children will be able to make a craft with green and blue recycled paper that they can glue on to a paper plate to form the oceans and continents of the world. Children are invited to a Geology Day later in the week to do mineral identification and adults are invited to make potpourri out of Earth’s natural elements.

A representative from the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, or OCRAA, is coming to speak to the children about how to recycle and what recycling can do to help not only the community, but also the world.

Around 56% of total waste was recycled in Onondaga County last year, a number that has slowly been decreasing since 2013 according to the OCRRA. Gall hopes that the programs the library has set up will spread awareness and make celebrating the Earth fun all week.