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KCL ready for a growing summer

Ready to rock and read, too

Posted: May 20, 2014 4:36 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Haley Atkinson/C-I

“We’re digging this book,” Kershaw County Library (Camden branch) librarians said of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” the novel selected for the library’s summer Book to Action program. From left, Lauren Decker (children’s librarian), Debbie Chick (branch manager), Cris Wilson (adult services) and Amy Schofield (director) stand on the site where the community garden will be.

Looking for a good read this summer? The Kershaw County Library (KCL) has you covered. Thanks to a Library-Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the South Carolina State Library, the library will soon be kicking off its first Book to Action program.

KCL Director Amy Schofield said the idea behind the program is to have an entire community reading and discussing the same book at the same time. The selected book is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Barbara Kingsolver. The book recounts a year during which Kingsolver and her family committed to eating only locally-produced food. Residents can borrow the book from the library.

Schofield said she thought the book would be good for the Kershaw County community because “people here are interested in this idea and there’s a commonality of being connected to the land.” Schofield said this “commonality” goes beyond partisanship and unites all people interested in eating healthy food that comes from local sources.

She said the book examines one family who made the commitment to live off the land.

“Kingsolver and her family learned how to cook, prepare and store these (local) foods,” Schofield said. “They had to learn to be resourceful and to reconnect with traditions that have been lost. (They realized they were) living life without understanding the implications and effects of the vast areas of land that were used for commercial farming, the toil that takes on the land.”

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” examines the lifestyles of “local-vores,” Schofield said, or people who go back to enjoying food cooked at home. Local-vores value that they know where their food comes from and are informed and connected to the impact they have when they eat it, she said.

“The book also discusses how it’s healthier to eat foods that are in season. That’s what people used to have to do before we started having our food shipped to us outside of its growing season,” Schofield said.

She said the accessibility of getting any produce at any time of the year has created a disconnection between humans and what they eat.

“When our food isn’t produced locally, we lose a sense of what a growing season is and what should be grown and at what time,” she said.

In addition to discussing the text, Book to Action participants will also put its ideas into action. The library will offer sessions highlighting different concepts discussed in the book. Local woodworker Anthony Hawkesworth will lead a two-day chicken cooper workshop, June 7 and 8, to cover the animal portion of the book.

There will also be gardening demonstrations by Kershaw County master gardeners (dates to be determined), Columbia chef Sharon Wright will demonstrate and discuss the benefits of eating raw food (June 25), and local chef and nutritionist Scott Freiberg will teach how to cook seasonal food and offer samples on June 27 and July 25.

As for the “miracle” part of the book, Dr. Bill Funderburk will lead discussions of the ideas the book raises and its literary merits. The discussions will be held June 10, July 8 and August 12. All participating Book to Action community members are encouraged to think about what toll humans are taking on their health, the environment and consciousness by consuming processed foods -- points that will be covered during Funderburk’s discussions.

University of South Carolina paleoethnobotanist Gail Wagner will also cover the “miracle” part of the book by leading a session on the use of plants by Native Americans for food, drink, medicine, smoking, fiber, construction and even poison. That program will take place July 7.

Another key component of the Book to Action program will be the establishment of a community garden beside the library in a plot donated by the Mullikin Law Firm. Schofield said gardening kits will be available for check out at the library’s front desk and that the garden will be used to grow food used in the cooking demonstrations.

Kick-off for the Book to Action program will take place June 3 at 10 a.m. Certified SC Grown gardeners will lead a demonstration in making seed necklaces, and the community garden will officially open. After the kick-off, the gardening club will meet weekly on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m. June 10 through August 12.

Rocking and reading

On a related note, the KCL Summer Reading Program will begin May 31 at 2:15 p.m. with a special concert by the Pop-Ups!, a Grammy-nominated kindie band from Brooklyn, N.Y. Though the group specializes in children’s music, Schofield said she enjoys their music herself and is sure other adults will, too. Other special events sponsored by the library will include Kid’s Day at the Farmer’s Market, June 7; A Little Night Music, July 11; Raggs the Clown, July 14; and Flow Circus, July 23.

Also, the Summer Reading Club will help students exercise their brains while out of school. Participants will receive a log and bookmark to record the date and number of minutes spent reading. After one hour of reading, participants receive a sticker and a pencil. After six hours of reading, participants can choose a book to keep and will receive a medal.

Children ages 5 and up are invited to join the Everybody Reads Club where three books -- The Lorax by Doctor Seuss; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl; and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett -- will be read, discussed and explored with a related craft. The library will also show the movie adaptations of each book.

To find out more about the Book to Action program or any of the summer reading programs offered by the library, visit its website at www.kershawcountylibrary.org, or visit any of the library’s branches.

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