'Learning Garden' at Mercer Island Library is open

Volunteers prepare the Literacy Garden to open this weekend at the Mercer Island Library. - Linda Ball/Staff Photo
Volunteers prepare the Literacy Garden to open this weekend at the Mercer Island Library.
— image credit: Linda Ball/Staff Photo

Volunteers started working last Wednesday on the new Early Learning Garden at the Mercer Island Library, to have it done by Saturday, in time for an opening at 3 p.m. The event included a story time and musical performance by Nancy Stewart.

Funded by a grant from Tully’s coffee, and organized by the Issaquah nonprofit Pomegranate Center, managing director Katya Matanovic said the center is all about community building.

The learning garden is part of “The Gathering Places Project.” On their Web site it states that the “Pomegranate Center and Tully’s Coffee believe every neighborhood deserves gathering places, where people can meet, linger, chat and celebrate. That’s why we’ve joined forces to help spark a movement to create gathering places in communities across the country, where people can meet, linger, chat and celebrate.”

Matanovic said the center’s role is to help design and build these gathering places, but the communities do the planning.

“We’re sort of the project managers,” she said. “We help turn their own ideas into action.”

Other gathering places they are working on are in Sumner, Wash., Northeast Seattle and Kirkland, Matanovic said, but this was the only project at a library.

The garden is intended to increase early literacy skills, but will be accessible and welcoming to all library patrons.

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