Westfield, Southwick, Granville, and Northampton residents recently learned new ways to save money, live sustainably, and plan for a hotter future - all thanks to their local libraries.
Saturday, Sept. 24 through Friday, September 30, the Pioneer Valley Library Collaborative (PVLC) presented Climate Preparedness Week, a national event spearheaded by the Boston-based nonprofit, Communities Responding to Extreme Weather.
“Climate change is a topic that's on a lot of people's minds, and libraries are the purveyors of information in our communities. Climate Preparedness Week allows us to join together to offer factual information through engaging programs," Lynn Blair, Southwick Public Library Director and PVLC’s Lead Librarian, said.
"The nice thing about the PVLC is that we can find local presenters with local information that can answer local people's questions,” Blair said.
Free and open to residents of any town, Climate Preparedness Week offered a broad slate of events for patrons of all ages. Programs included a chance to practice mindfulness in beautiful Stanley Park; a kids’ cooking class at Forbes using locally grown produce, and an opportunity to engage in “Climate Change 101” with Westfield State University professor, Dr. Carsten Braun.
“Climate Preparedness Week is this opportunity for us, at every age, to be able to understand our world today. We're so disconnected from nature that we don't really understand it - and it's changing so quickly it's actually hard to grasp it," says Lise Letellier, Granville Public Library Director.
Other library programs throughout the year have focused on gardening for pollinators, growing and storing food, trivia nights, forest and tree conservation, eating a plant-based diet, and even bird watching.
"No matter what age we're at, the library provides us with good information,” she said.
"Climate change is happening,” LeTellier said. “Every year is so different, and we don't know what to expect any more. Learning to be prepared for the unexpected is more important now than ever.”