Nova Scotia

Nature backpacks available at Cape Breton libraries this summer

Along with that romance or thriller, library members can also borrow a themed backpack that includes books on the identification of sea life or seashells, along with a bucket and shovel.

15 themed backpacks include brochures, books on sea life, activity ideas, and a bucket and shovel

Backpacks available to borrow from the Cape Breton Regional Library this summer. (Submitted by Cape Breton Regional Library)

The Cape Breton Regional Library put a new twist on its book loan program this summer.

Along with that romance or thriller, members can also borrow a themed backpack that includes laminated brochures and books on the identification of sea life or seashells, as well as activity suggestions and a bucket and shovel.

"The instructions in the bag do say, 'Please return clean and dry,'" said Erin Phillips, Victoria County Libraries supervisor with the Cape Breton Regional Library.

But Philips acknowledged there will likely be some sand also returned to the library.

There are six themes to the new nature backpacks, including bird watching, insects, night sky, in the forest, the beach and wild crafting.

This backpack has a bird-watching theme. (Submitted by Cape Breton Regional Library)

For example, the crafting backpack includes books on finding and cooking wild edibles, nature journaling and flower pressing.

Binoculars, walking trail maps and books on birdhouses and bird identification are included in the birdwatching backpack.

"It really helps to enrich your outdoor experience, I think, when you can have the books and the information to learn," said Phillips.

"We are all about reading and learning at the library, but we also do want to encourage a more all-encompassing style of learning — not just book learning, but really hands-on learning."

Anyone with a library card can borrow one of the 15 the backpacks from any of the 12 regional library branches.

"They are more designed for individual or family use, not so much for a large group," said Phillips.

The project received $2,000 from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith was born and raised in Cape Breton. She began her career in private radio in Sydney and has been with CBC as a reporter, early morning news editor and sometimes host since 1990.

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