The Saturday edition of the Moscow Pullman Daily News carries a regular column contributed by one of these five area libraries: Latah County Library District; Neill Public Library; University of Idaho; Whitman County Library District; and Washington State University Libraries. We reprint the most recent columns here, with permission.

Go to the library, then go outside

By Michelle Sturdy
5/7/22

We made it through the April showers, so now it is time to enjoy the May flowers. Let us appreciate the flowers and all the other lovely things spring and summer have to offer. We are lucky to have access to beautiful outdoor spaces on the Palouse and surrounding areas. Kamiak Butte County Park is one of my favorites for early season wildflowers. I am also fond of Elk River Falls, Moscow Mountain, Spring Valley Reservoir, Potlatch Canyon Trail and the Giant White Pine Campground and Trailhead, among others.

We all enjoy the outdoors in our own way — fishing, hunting, gardening, geology, birdwatching, plant appreciation, hiking, biking, camping, solitude and more. The outdoors and libraries are for everyone. Each of us comes to nature in our own unique way. I think that is magical. Libraries have an abundance of great resources to help us each enhance our own unique outdoor experience.

I like asking “why” and making observations when I am outside. This is where the libraries help me out. Sometimes I want to know what something is: What was that alien plant in front of me? It was British Columbia wildginger (Asarum caudatum). The first time I saw it I was intrigued because I had never seen anything quite like it. I figured it out using plant guides (some from the library) and the Internet. I saw a ladybug (Hippodamia convergens) aggregation last summer; it was fun and informative to read about these charming insects’ group behavior.

 

In addition to plant and animal field guides, libraries carry books about geology, camping and camp cooking, gardening (books ranging from beginner to expert), maps and atlases, fishing, hunting and so much more. If you can think it up, the Latah County Library District probably has a book for that. When you cannot find something in the district’s collection, we can find something for you through the Valnet consortium of libraries (the Latah County Library District is a participating member) and put it on hold for you, or get you a book through interlibrary loan. You can also submit a purchase suggestion. Computers, with Internet access, are available at all district libraries (Moscow, Deary, Genesee, Potlatch, Bovill, Juliaetta and Troy) for patrons to look up information about their outdoor pursuits and interests. Some libraries have free seeds available to patrons; contact your local library to inquire about seed exchange programs.

I recently, while walking my dog through the woods, came upon a person resting in a portable camping hammock and reading a book. I am definitely going to follow suit when I get the chance; what a great way to enjoy a book and a hammock on a hike. I also like to listen to audiobooks when walking or hiking alone, but only in one ear so I can still listen for animals and recreating humans. I check out audiobooks from the library using the Libby by Overdrive app; Libby is one of my favorite and most used library resources. If you are new to Libby or need help navigating the app, head to the library and we will help you out. Whether you are looking to read (or listen to) a book outside or gathering information for your outside activities; stop by your local library before you head out into the great outdoors. Have fun on your outside adventures, whatever they may be.

Sturdy is the library manager at the Troy branch.