The Chelmsford Public Library is excited to announce that we are one of 260 grantees chosen for a 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant! As part of an education and awareness campaign for the recently approved Land Acknowledgement for the town of Chelmsford, the Chelmsford Library and the town’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee are partnering to foster education about the town’s history of both its land and its people. The greater Chelmsford area comprises, in part, the homelands of the Pawtucket-Pennacook–Abenaki, and their close neighbors the Massachusett and Nipmuc peoples. With the help of an intergenerational team of volunteers, we will establish informational kiosks and freestanding mini libraries throughout town — near historical markers, in public parks, and at trailheads – that will increase community awareness of Chelmsford history and help make connections between the present and the past.
The outdoor mini libraries will house assorted books written by Indigenous authors as well as books about local Indigenous nations and their history, present, and future. This project will empower Indigenous peoples within our community and beyond, and will direct residents and visitors alike to resources regarding Chelmsford history, local Indigenous nations, and the shared land on which we all work, learn, and play.
The combination of these informational kiosks and mini libraries will be promoted as a Trails and Tales adventure that will encourage community members to get outdoors, commune with nature, and visit all the locations. Community members will be able to hike the trails and bring home some informative materials from each trek. This component will particularly appeal to people 50-plus and their families as a health and wellness activity that promotes intergenerational learning and wellness.
This fall the library will also offer a connected series of programs led by and focused on Indigenous peoples as well as the significance of land acknowledgements and Indigenous-led land conservation efforts throughout the state. The program series will include author talks, creative workshops, interactive art and music events, and historical lectures by Indigenous presenters.