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High School Students Volunteer To Support A Living Library


Students (Camille Bersonda, Edmund Cruz, Kevin Zheng & Erica Narciso) from San Mateo High School, led by Erica Narciso, met recently with Bonnie Ora Sherk and Manisha Dhar to discuss ways to support A Living Library. Their written statements of why they want to be involved with A.L.L. are shown below:

My interest in your program was because that you really want to reach out to schools and spread the topic of the importance of ecology. I believe your goals and lessons are very essential and the work you guys have done for recreation and beautification are worth being noticed. So, I would like to offer my help in such a program with my knowledge of technology in order for A Living Library to get more attention and spread the word over the internet. I think what you are trying to accomplish deserves more credit and respect and I look forward to working with this program.
- Camille Bersonda

Personally, the idea of incorporating ecology and redesigning school communities is great for the students to enjoy as well as appreciate the wonders of nature. Once A.L.L (A Living Library) can get more of its voice globally, then students from everywhere will be educated and astounded by how nature can be beautiful and educational. Helping A.L.L as a volunteer will ensure that A.L.L is one step closer to sharing its magic of nature from one to all. From planting trees, making mosaics, and helping the environment gives great benefits of both being much greener and much more creative when it comes to the community.
- Edmund Cruz

In my search for a volunteer opportunity related to computer sciences, I came across A Living Library through and assumed the given task would simply be to create or modify website for a library. However, A Living Library is not your typical library, a silent building filled with books, its knowledge is centered around parks where children and adults alike come together to learn a countless amount of subjects. Similarly, the internet gives people a boundless amount of information but sitting at your desktop or laptop or being at school all day is not the same as being in the great outdoors and interacting with others, an opportunity that A.L.L opens up by branching out and creating Think Parks. The hands-on experience as well as the connections that can be formed between people and nature is what makes A Living Library unique and fresh, a stark contrast to today’s technological age, but highly necessary.
- Erica Narciso

A Living Library has contributed to numerous communities by setting forth projects that bring ecological innovation and building a learning place within those communities. Think Parks in Chinatown and Excelsior for example, bring children and adults alike to participate in local gardening and teaching the youth about how important it is to create a culture that will last for years to come. As a student recently joining A.L.L., I have explored their goals and would love to take part in their mission to create a better community through education, shared experiences, and a positive attitude. My next steps would be to visit A.L.L’s programs at schools and libraries to see how they work and if its possible to volunteer at those locations.
- Kevin Zheng


Healthy Hearts of February: Valentine’s Day Celebrated A Living Library Garden Style!


IMG_0736Love was in the air in the OMI/Excelsior and Bernal Heights Branch Living Library & Think Parks this February, and Valentine’s Day was not the only reason why.  IMG_0731

This month we took a fun turn towards learning of healthy hearts, as our A.L.L. Garden Instructors brought food choices and food fun to the garden table.  For two weeks, students from Kindergarten to 8th grade took part in a Juicing for Health Lesson that brightened up eyes and taste buds, with Hulk Green Juicing Machines !

Students of all ages worked together to categorize the foods we commonly eat, and that we know can, either support, or destroy, our bodily systems and balance. Students actively participated in acknowledging the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, and the health risks of diets, high in fats and sugars.  Did you know that a can of soda or a regular glass of fruit juice can contain up to 10tsp. of processed sugar?


  Expressions of “Yuck” were soon overcome, with looks of “Yum”, when our students started preparing fresh fruits and vegetables from the local grocery store, and seasonal edible plants from our Living Library Gardens. We added some super power from greens, such as chard, kale, dandelion, miner’s lettuce, and even sour grass, to our mixture, for an ever-changing, new, flavor of health. 

And, with this comes the great lesson of how each food choice can support, or hurt us, in different ways.  You probably knew that carrots provide carotene for stronger eyes and vision, but did you know that parsley has been found to contain anti-tumor fighting agents?

Through preparing meals, and creating art with colorful foods as the medium, students learn that healthy food is fun, and, Yes, we should play with our food at A Living Library!

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 Blog written by A Living Library Garden Instructor Courtney Calkins.     


Time melts …..

Hello ALL !

So much has been happening continuously with our A.L.L. projects and multiple museum shows and talks, that I haven't had a chance to post updates on our Living Library Nature Walk, our Branch Living Library & Think Park community/school sites, and more.   I want to fill you in with as much as I can, so I will be posting several new entries.  The reportage may be out of sequence, but I hope you enjoy it anyway !

Picture above shows sweet boys in Berlin eating ice cream in their strollers on the street in the Mitte in August.  I was there for a big international museum show curated by Anne Kersten, called Hungry City, at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien that featured my installation on The Farm.

More later......


Portable Park lV – past, present, future = A Living Library featured on Kickstarter: Please Donate !

Portable Park lV - past, present, future = A Living Library is being installed in Santa Monica, California at Santa Monica Place, opening on January 27-February 5 as part of The Getty's Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival.

Curated by Karen Moss and developed with MFA Public Practice Students from Otis College of Art & Design, Portable Park lV - past, present, future = A Living Library brings a pioneering work by Bonnie Ora Sherk from the past, Portable Parks 1-111, into the present and future.

Please join us on Kickstarter to realize this new work.  Thank you for your donation !

Portable Park lV - past, present, future = A Living Library by Bonnie Ora Sherk & Students From Otis College of Art & Design


Even A Few More Photos of Tree Planting From Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Nature Walk

We have so many great pictures of volunteers planting California Native Trees adding to the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Nature Walk underway in San Francisco, leading to the Islais Creek at the south end of St. Mary's Park. 

Eventually, we envision linking more schools, parks, and other open spaces within the Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in SF, that interconnects at least 11 communities from: Noe Valley, Mission, Bernal, Potrero, Bayview, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, OMI, Sunnyside, Glen Park.

Below are a few more pics showing diverse areas of St. Mary's Park in South Bernal Heights !

Planting Native Oaks (Quercus agrifolia - Coast Live Oak) in 2010 on the Upper Ridge of St. Mary's and (Quercus spp. - Mixed Oaks ) on Path from Crescent Avenue leading to south side of Park and currently hidden, underground Islais Creek.

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