What happens when a librarian who spends her summers running a non-profit literacy program and her woodworking, bird-loving boyfriend combine their passions?
You get the Belmont Pubic Library for the Birds.
Rebecca Flowers and Kevin Cwalina, of the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville, Virginia, were inspired by a bird feeder created in Norway called The Piip-Show, themed after a bar.
“It was a short lived site but gave us the idea that, sure birds need a bar, but what they really need are books! Our slogan is ‘Belmont Public Library for the birds: feeding the bird brains of Virginia,'” said Flowers.
The bird library was designed by Cwalina, with design help from Flowers, and it’s located at a private residence.
“We started this project last summer and have slowly been completing it piece by piece. Everything but the chair was made by us. We found the chair at the SPCA rummage sale and painted it. It was the perfect fit.”
The Belmont Public Library for the Birds opened May 2nd, and the grand opening events was “complete with registering birds for library cards and a grand opening banner.”
The bird feeder is positioned in eyesight of Kevin’s home office window, where there’s been a camera set up to take photos whenever a bird “patron” visits the library. They’ve also set up a web cam for video, and as Flowers notes, “dreams of live streaming art in our head.”
The Belmont Library for the Birds has its own Twitter account, as well as a wonderful Facebook page. They’re full of not only great photos and videos, but Flowers has been writing great bird puns with library and book-related humor for the captions.
Why build a library for the birds and what’s the inspiration for keeping it going? Flowers says, “The bird library has been a great way to document the many varieties of birds we have in Virginia. On our Facebook page we are keeping a ‘Guest List’ of the different species that visit the library.”
As of this post, the Belmont Public Library for the Birds has seen 12 different bird species patrons.
“It has also been a lot of fun to see who shows up, who keeps returning, and creating little stories for each of our bird patrons.”
Of course, as anyone who loves a library knows — it’s not just about the books (or the seeds!) on shelf. It’s about the stories you get to tell and share.
All photos and video are from Twitter and Facebook pages for the Belmont Public Library for the Birds.
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