An underwater scene that seems as big as the ocean greets those entering the children’s area of the newly reopened Coronado Public Library. Inspired by the library’s partnership with Emerald Keepers, a local non-profit working to educate the community about sustainable practices to support the health of our oceans, the diorama of a kelp forest aims to educate visitors of all ages.

Library staff Senior Librarian Eileen Hauser and Sonya Palacios created the display. “We are very excited about this display, and thrilled that library is now open so people can see it,” said Hauser.

“It’s so creative! It is really beautiful and celebrates our ocean and coast,” said Amy Steward, President of Emerald Keepers. “When people look out over the ocean it is easy to forget just how much life is below the surface and how important ocean health is to our very existence. Partnering with the Coronado Public Library was one of the best decisions we made as a new non-profit in town. What better place than a library to help enlighten people about ways they can get involved and make a difference?”

Teen Librarian Tara Davies designed informational bubbles to encourage people to look for a variety of sea animals in the diorama and learn more about them. Some of the sea animals people are encouraged to find include the leopard shark, stingray, whale shark, thresher shark, orca, beluga, and jellyfish. Did you know kelp is not a plant but rather a very large alga? Kelp forests are home to hundreds of species.

The Coronado Public Library was registered as Emerald Green, Ocean Blue after meeting a short list of criteria set forth by Emerald Keepers to be more “green.” Some changes include using sustainable plates and glassware to make all Library events zero waste; the installation of a water filling station to allow patrons to refill their reusable water bottles; and LED lighting to reduce the carbon footprint and cuts costs for the City. “Libraries are a classic example of sustainability,” said Library Director Shaun Briley. “Books are made of a recyclable and renewable resource, and libraries are the ultimate sharing service where instead of being used once and discarded, resources are shared and reused many times within the community.”

“As the information hub of an oceanfront community, the library supports the idea of, and aims to broaden public awareness of sustainability and the small steps we can all take to take care of our oceans,” said Hauser, who has been the library’s representative to Emerald Keepers. “We are proud to partner with Emerald Keepers and host scientific experts and promote a variety of educational resources for community members of all ages to borrow.”

The Emerald Keepers’ recommended reading list for children has been endorsed by Phillipe Cousteau and can be found on the library’s catalog page (cplcatalog.org). Cousteau is the grandson of Jacques Cousteau and has continued his family’s work educating the public about environmental and conservation issues.

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