Not just books: New birding backpacks donated to Roanoke Valley libraries | Local News

As the crow flies, aspiring birdwatchers can wing it to any library in the Roanoke Valley to check out a useful backpack.

Stocked with binoculars, field guides and directions to local birdwatching hotspots, the birding backpacks were donated to regional libraries by the Roanoke Valley Bird Club, said Botetourt County Libraries Director Julie Phillips.

“We want to remind people that we have so much more at the library than just books,” Phillips said. “We’ve got all sorts of learning experiences in different forms… If you’re interested in learning about and exploring the world, we’ve got you covered.”

She encouraged people to get involved and participate at their local branch.

“We learn in all sorts of ways, and that includes just immersing ourselves in our environment and having something to interpret it for us. That’s where the birding backpacks come in,” Phillips said. “We want to give people the best experience they can while they’re learning, and make sure it’s fun at the same time.”

People are also reading…

Librarians at several locations across the Roanoke Valley on Tuesday afternoon said their birding backpacks are already checked out, but that’s what the reservation system is designed to accommodate.

And besides, there are ample other options for budding naturalists, or any other hobby someone might pick up in these dog days of summer, Phillips said.

“If we stay on the backpack theme, we also have nature backpacks,” including a free state park pass, she said. “You can take that backpack and run out to the park and have a really incredible experience for the whole family.”

Libraries have other take-home activity kits of all varieties, she said. Learn kitchen science, make your own book, or build a little straw rocket.

“We also of course have events going on where kids and adults can come and learn a hands-on skill,” Phillips said. “This fall we’ll have some LEGO competitions and other fun things… it’s going to be a blast.”

Finally, of course, there are also books available for checkout.

Find your local library online using the Virginia Public Library Directory:


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