4/15-5/3: Central Library Lower Level/Children’s Library area will be closed due to construction work.

Kiss the Ground Book Cover and dirt

Santa Barbara Public Library’s 2024 Book to Action Series Highlights Sustainability

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Each year, Santa Barbara Public Library chooses a social topic of community interest or challenge that the community is facing and develops a series of programs to explore potential solutions. Through selected readings, presentations, and community engagement, SBPL hopes to inspire action in the community to improve lives and invest in a more sustainable future. This year, Book to Action will complement our #SustainablySBPL series, focusing on climate education, environment-focused civic engagement, water conservation, air quality, energy efficiency, reducing waste, and supporting local climate action and resilience plans.

As a community vulnerable to climate change's many impacts, the engagement of local residents is critical to mitigating climate-related issues in and around Santa Barbara. Regenerative agriculture is one solution that can help fight climate change and bolster communities through carbon sequestration, improved soil fertility, biodiversity, water conservation, higher yields, and increased nutritional value of foods. While Santa Barbara is an agricultural hub, not all local farms employ regenerative agriculture practices, and few community members are aware of the significant positive impacts these practices can have on the environment and our communities at large. Our Book to Action series hopes to provide more educational opportunities for community members to get involved in regenerative agricultural practices at any level.

SBPL’s Book to Action series will feature three climate-related titles for book discussions, a documentary screening, and community volunteer opportunities.

SBPL will begin distributing copies of the featured title, Kiss the Ground by Josh Tickell, at a Library on the Go van stop near the Downtown Santa Barbara Farmers Market on Tuesday, March 5, and copies will be available at the Central Library while supplies last. The title is also available on Libby as an ebook or digital audiobook. The documentary “Kiss the Ground” will be screened at Central Library Faulkner Gallery on Thursday, March 28 at 6 p.m. and a book discussion will be held at Central Library Gallery West on Thursday, March 21 at noon.

Two complementary books were selected for additional book discussions: The Vaster Wilds by bestselling author Lauren Groff and Earth Keeper by the late N. Scott Momaday, a poet, playwright, painter, photographer, storyteller, and professor of English. Registered participants for these book discussions will receive instructions on picking up copies of the books while supplies last.

Three books askew on white background

Our feature title for this year’s Book to Action, Kiss the Ground, delves into the transformative potential of soil in combating climate change. The book and accompanying documentary highlight the profound impact of regenerative farming practices, not only on our health and well-being but also on the restoration of our essential resource—the very soil that sustains us. In “Kiss the Ground” author and documentary filmmaker Josh Tickell reveals a powerful truth: by adopting a diet that supports soil regeneration and embracing regenerative agriculture, we possess the ability to mitigate global warming, cultivate nutritious and plentiful food, and rid our environment of harmful toxins detrimental to our health and the planet. Through engaging interviews with renowned chefs, farmers, ranchers, and scientists, both in the book and its accompanying documentary, readers and viewers are empowered to join the urgent and critical mission of reversing climate change.

The Vaster Wilds is Groff’s latest, a historical novel set in 17th century Colonial America, following a teenage servant girl’s escape from starving conditions and her struggle for survival in the brutal northern wilderness. The book discussion will take place at Eastside Library’s MLK Room on Tuesday, April 2nd at noon with giveaway copies provided in partnership with UCSB Arts & Lectures. Lauren Groff will be in conversation with Pico Iyer at Campbell Hall on Tuesday, April 9th at 7:30 p.m.

Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by National Medal of Arts and Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday (1934-2024) contains a collection of essays on our relationship to the Earth, including damage we as people have caused, and improving our connection to our environment. While short in length, Earth Keeper provokes our thinking about our deepest intentions of how we interact with our world and work to preserve it for future generations. Our discussion will take place on Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m. at Eastside Library’s MLK Room.

To get involved in regenerative agriculture in a hands-on way, teens and adults will have the opportunity to volunteer in SBPL’s community garden plot at the Yanonali Community Garden. Find upcoming volunteer opportunities in the Library’s event calendar.  

SBPL will host two food preservation workshops as part of our Book to Action and Sustainably SBPL programming series. These workshops equip community members with skills to preserve food safely and reduce food waste. For our first workshop, “Learn to Make Sauerkraut and Quick Kimchi,” UC Master Food Preservers talk participants through the steps to create these delicious foods on Saturday, March 23 at noon at Central Library Faulkner Gallery. Explore the world of fermentation and have your food preservation questions answered by certified UC Master Food Preserver Program volunteers.

For our second workshop, Christina Dominguez will present “Fermenting for Wellness: A Simple Guide To Home Fermentation.” Dominguez, a functional nutrition registered dietician, will explain how this ancient food preservation method can transform ordinary vegetables into nutritious living foods. This workshop will be at Eastside Library on Sunday, April 7 at 10 a.m. and participants will walk away with their own homemade jar of sauerkraut and the knowledge to continue fermenting foods at home.  

UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County will offer an in-person, research-based presentation on soil preparation. UC Master Gardener Kit Bonson will discuss the importance of good soil preparation, using amendments and mulch to support soil health, and how to test your soil using a simple hands-on jar test. Please pre-register and join us on Sunday, March 17, at 10 a.m. in the Faulkner Gallery to learn about soil essentials before starting your most beautiful and productive garden!

About Book to Action

Book to Action is a program framework that takes the basic book club concept and expands it to create a dynamic series of events for adults and multigenerational groups. Librarians work closely with community partners to engage individuals to read and discuss a book on a current topic, attend author or speaker events, and put their new-found knowledge into action by participating in a community service project or civic engagement activity related to the book.

This project was supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.