Nature: Going Beyond the Walls of the Library

Primary author: Emilie Braunel

I grew up in the country surrounded by trees, bugs, and weather. When I moved away to college and later to more populated areas, I longed for a space where I could go to be alone or to not see anything man made.

What is in this tool?

  • Reflect on how their library currently supports their community‚Äôs connections with the natural world
  • Investigate new opportunities for the library to support and engage with the community in natural spaces

As a rural library director in an area populated in the summer by people coming to get away from the city, I realized they were coming here to also get back into nature. Library visitors have come in to look for maps, ask about good hiking, swimming, or fishing spots, and find out what is happening in the area. Sharing the outdoors with family, friends, and the community is a joy when the natural world is respected and valued.     

 In rural communities, connection to nature plays a critical role in many aspects of life, including mental and physical health, as well as a shared sense of place. Many people seek out the natural world to slow down, recharge, and find peace. In today‚Äôs technology-driven world where we are often pulled to always be connected and plugged in, escaping to the outdoors reinvigorates the pleasures of exploring the world around you, being present in the moment, and giving yourself time to ponder and reflect.

LISTEN: Jonathan: –is there– I am so inspired, all the time. And I think part of it is because, two things. One, I am surrounded by nature when I go outside. And the other, which is mixed with that, is that the pace is calmer. It’s like, I can hear my thoughts and deal with them and have ideas. I can see natural things in the world that spark my curiosity. Where I didn’t have that as much in the city. –interview #1-3-04

Further Resources

Want to read more about how rural residents value nature? See “Home, Place-making, & the Environment – Wisconsin Case Study” COMING SOON.