Harlow Carr – New green library

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, General) by elearning4bradford on 16-04-2009

A few days ago I visited Harlow Carr the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) gardens near Harrogate. I was impressed with the library; there were about 4,000 volumes and an excellent range of magazines catering for the general hobbyist and the more specialist interests. The classification scheme used for the print stock was interesting a kind of supplemented Dewey integrated with plant classification schemes. The library, which is open daily, is run by a team of volunteers under the guidance of librarians based at the headquarters of the Lindley Library, in London. The library is currently housed in the Study Centre within the gardens.

However work has already started on a new building to facilitate the library collections and to extend the learning activity. The new building sounds incredibly exciting, having a zero carbon footprint it will be the greenest library in the UK. At a cost of £3m the facility will have a massive impact on learning; providing opportunities to schoolchildren and adults to understand the link between themselves and the natural world through horticulture.

From the Harlow Carr website “The learning centre will increase our capacity for free school visits more than threefold, enabling the garden to welcome more than 10,000 schoolchildren a year. It will also provide a base to expand our outreach programmes locally and in the wider region, to engage with hard-to-reach communities and schools. The project will also allow for a broader programme of educational workshops for all gardeners and visitors to Harlow Carr.”

I shall be following with interest the development of this new building. I picked up some seeds for my allotment from the very well-stocked shop – which, incidentally has an excellent book section particularly strong on botanical art books which included the recently published The Wild & Garden Plants of Ireland illustrated with 99 watercolour prints by the brilliant E Charles Nelson and Wendy F Walsh (2009 Thames & Hudson £25) which I regret not having purchased – but which would have certainly led to dreams of walks in Connemara and the Wicklow mountains – maybe next time!

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