The stacks at Patagonia Public Library.

Patagonia Public Library has been selected as one of 300 libraries to participate in an initiative that aims to help library workers better serve their small and rural communities.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library raise awareness of citizen science projects from organizations operating within Santa Cruz County, as well as national-level opportunities for local residents, the library said in a news release. The program, an American Library Association initiative, is called “Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries” and is offered in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

“We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” Library Director Laura Wenzel said in the news release. “This grant will allow curious minds of all ages to actively participate with organizations invested in various ecological and biological preservation, restoration, and education efforts in our region and beyond.”

The grant will fund the library’s new “Library of Things,” which includes a lending telescope from Cornerstones of Science, as well as birdwatching, butterfly spotting and plant identification backpack kits available for checkout. The library will also become a Weather Underground weather station so that residents and visitors alike may have access to an accurate weather account of weather events in Patagonia.

As part of the grant, library staff will host a conversation with residents about citizen science projects. Those that will be highlighted include the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, Sky Island Alliance’s ongoing Border Wildlife Study, and the Friends of Sonoita Creek wet-dry mapping of Harshaw Creek in the summer of 2021. Using information from SciStarter, National Geographic, Cornerstones of Science and more, the library said, it will introduce participants to projects like Stream Selfie, the Great Sunflower Project and the annual Backyard Bird Count.

To get involved or take part in the conversation (date TBA), contact Wenzel at (520) 394-2010 or see for more information.

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