Director Jennifer Kirman at the The Walkerton-Lincoln Township Public Library. (Photos by Jubilee Edgell)

Walkerton-Lincoln Township Library Receives Second Grant to Enhance Unity Garden

The Walkerton-Lincoln Township Public Library is a hub of community involvement, both inside and outside the building. Varied programming offers interesting activities for all ages. Recently, its Unity Garden received a second $10,000 grant from the American Libraries Association (ALA). The goal of the ALA initiative, known as Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, is to help libraries make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities.

The library is housed in its own building, which was constructed in 2018. The necessary funds needed for construction were made possible through local donations, grants, and the support of the Town of Walkerton and the library board. Spacious and airy, the structure has ample room for the Unity Garden on-site.

“Since I’ve been alive, the library has been in four spaces,” says Jennifer Kirman, director. “The one before this was in a dingy little building by Dollar General. It had few windows and was much smaller. This has windows everywhere. It is gorgeous. We had a huge empty space on the west side of the building. I asked the board what they would like to see there. This is the third year for the garden; we started with four beds. The second year, we got the first grant and were able to add four more beds. The grant we received this year will allow us to add four more beds, plus extend the sidewalks around the beds to make them accessible to seniors and those with special needs.”

Unity Gardens in South Bend is assisting in the library team’s goal of providing healthy food for the community. Six fruit trees including apple, pear and peach have been provided. Bramble bushes such as strawberries, blueberries and black raspberries were recently supplied. In addition, one of the outreaches to the community is a seed library. Free, non-GMO seeds are available for anyone in the community, for planting on their own.

Besides allowing the space for the Unity Garden, the location of the Walkerton-Lincoln Township Public Library has proved advantageous in other ways. It is right next to Urey Middle School. Books can be checked out for three weeks, and at the end of that period, a day is set aside for every seventh- and eighth-grade student to come in. Kirman works with the language arts teachers and opens two hours early to host two classes every hour until 2:45 p.m. Special activities are planned that introduce the students to what the library has to offer. Recently they participated in a scavenger hunt to find 26 different book titles, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet.

Programming exists for the very young to older adults. Every Friday at 10:30 a.m. preschool and homeschool children attend story time and do a craft. There is an adult craft session once a month. Every first and third Wednesday senior mornings are held, which feature a speaker on topics such as estate planning or nutrition. The library’s book club meets once a month.

“This year our book club is having a lot of fun by doing something different,” says Kirman. “We are following the 52 Book Club challenge, an online program. When we meet, someone might have four books to recommend while someone else might have read two. It doesn’t matter; it gives people ideas of different authors or genres to try.”

“We are very excited for this year’s summer reading program, ‘Adventure Begins at Your Library,’” adds Kirman. “The Indiana State Library sent us a map showing the location of all the libraries in Indiana. We have asked each librarian to send us a postcard. In addition, we have received postcards from all over the world from people who are traveling. Since the program is based on adventure, a story stroll has been set up on the Walkerton Parks and Recreation Department walking trail.”

Throughout the year the library sponsors varied events. Recent programs have included a senior resource expo and a craft show. Every six weeks a mobile unit from the South Bend Medical Foundation comes for blood donations. In March a grant from Indiana Humanities enabled a talk by Indiana author Alicia Rasley on story building.

“The library has a community room, which is free to use as long as no one is making a profit while there,” Kirman says. “Two times a week people come in to play cards. We have an amazing LEGO table and computers with children’s games. There are STEAM kits that can be used at the library or checked out. This summer the young-adult section will have a tent and sleeping bags. My goal is to build partnerships with the community and work with other agencies. Walkerton and areas surrounding us have been super supportive. We get a lot of donations. It allows us to offer our programs and activities.”

The Walkerton-Lincoln Township Public Library is located at Located at 406 Adams Street in Walkerton. For more info, visit, or call 574-279-0177.

Comments 1

  1. Vickie Matz says:

    Fantastic! Glad to see something like this in our community and so well maintained!And with these added features can only get even better! Thank you to all who have helped to achieve this community garden!

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