Book Shrubs to Appear in Renfrew County Public Schools

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 13:46 -- admin
photo of book tree shrub

Book Shrubs, which celebrate the outdoors and literacy, are set to appear in 20 public schools across Renfrew County in June of 2015. Built by the Grade 10 construction class at Mackenzie Community School (MCS) in Deep River, the Shrub design was a collaborative effort of MCS staff and students in cooperation with staff of other Book Shrub host schools. The Shrubs will complement the six Book Trees located throughout Renfrew County, developing the Renfrew County Book Forest. This is truly a community-driven initiative.

The Book Shrub concept is a natural next step building on the existing Renfrew County Book Trees, which were modeled after The Giving Tree in Berlin, Germany. Grant funds have supported the development, design and implementation of the Book Trees, which provide free access to books for all community residents and visitors. There are no limits; everyone is welcome take or leave books, or simply browse and see if a book is of interest. In the spirit of travelling books, the initial Book Trees each included a book from The Giving Tree in Berlin. This theme continues as others add books from international locations, including an English book with Spanish annotations from Madrid that has been recently added by MCS Principal, Ivan Saari.

The Book Shrubs are constructed of local wood with a green-shingled roof and will be mounted on a cedar post. Each Book Shrub will include a laminated information sheet and a sample website/publication.

The simple guidelines for each school include:
1. SITE it - choose a location on school property to place the Shrub
2. SEED it - start the Shrub by adding books
3. PROMOTE it – tell others where the Shrub is and how to use it

A team from MCS recently led a presentation at a Renfrew County District School Board Meeting on June 2 informing the trustees and senior staff of the initiative.

The Book Shrubs serve each community, promote literacy and sharing, and are a global conduit for great books. Each school community will decide upon the needs of the Shrub, and care for it. Some days the Shrub may be empty, some days it may be full; you never know the treasures available until you explore! The intent is to expand the Book Forest over time. Who knows where a Book Shrub, Tree, or even a Book Bush will appear next? Books can be registered at as a great family activity, tracking the places books may go!

You may find Book Shrubs sited and seeded at the following schools:

- Highview Public School
- Champlain Discovery Public School
- Westmeath Public School
- Rockwood Public School
- AJ Charbonneau Public School
- Queen Elizabeth Public School
- Beachburg Public School
- Renfrew Collegiate Intermediate School
- Central Public School
- McNab Public School
- Valour Public School
- Pine View Public School
- Herman Street Public School
- Mackenze Community School
- Sherwood Public School
- Palmer Rapids Public School
- Madawaska Public School
- Whitney Public School
- Killaloe Public School
- Eganville Public School

Ivan Saari
Publication Date: 
Thursday, June 25, 2015