How you really can build a better world this summer

You may have heard that the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is “Build a Better World.” And if you’re like me, building a better world may sound like a lofty goal to try to accomplish (especially over the course of a couple of months).

But fear not. The task of building a better world can start if just one person changes something small, and here at the Bartholomew County Public Library, we have resources for all ages that can help you make a difference.

One way you can make a difference in the world is by recycling, or, even better, by upcycling. Recently in the children’s department, you may have seen something growing, and the tree that has suddenly appeared is largely crafted from upcycled materials.

All of the leaves that have “sprouted” from the branches of the tree are made from discarded and damaged books from our collection. The trunk of the tree is also made of upcycled materials, with old newspapers and chicken wire forming the base.

The tree is just one example of the wide variety of things you can create with items that would otherwise be simply discarded, and we have several books that allow you to make your own trash-to-treasure creations. Two of my favorites are “Don’t Throw That Away!: 1,001 Ways to Reuse Your Stuff” by Jeff Yeager, and “50 Ways to CartOn: Recycle & Create Milk and Egg Carton Crafts that Rock” by Ellen Warwick.

Maybe you’re not into making handicrafts, and that’s OK. You can still explore the many benefits of recycling with a scientific twist.

We also have titles such as “Recycled Science: Bring out Your Science Genius with Soda Bottles, Potato Chip Bags, and More Unexpected Stuff” by Tammy Enz, and “The Robot Book: Build & Control 20 Electric Gizmos, Moving Machines, and Hacked Toys” by Bobby Mercer that explore some more of the possibilities that recycling can bring.

Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the library’s digital resources, too. Our Hoopla and Overdrive databases have some great titles that you can check out to your smartphone or tablet anytime, including “Outsmart Waste” by Tom Szaky available from Hoopla in eBook format, and “All You Need Is Less: The Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity” by Madeleine Somerville available from Overdrive in eBook format.

No matter what you are reading or what format it is in, be sure to pick up a reading club challenge card for the “Build a Better World” Summer Reading Challenge to win some cool prizes while you’re exploring how you can make a difference.

Amanda Ballard is a library assistant in the children’s
department at the Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at