Who knew (probably a lot of people!): miscellania is an island kingdom in the game of RuneScape; miscellanea is “a collection of miscellaneous . . . objects or writings.” M-W online.

Nature backpacks available at Cape Breton libraries this summer (author: Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith for CBC Nova Scotia)

The Cape Breton Regional Library put a new twist on its book loan program this summer.

Along with that romance or thriller, members can also borrow a themed backpack that includes laminated brochures and books on the identification of sea life or seashells, as well as activity suggestions and a bucket and shovel.

“The instructions in the bag do say, ‘Please return clean and dry,’’’ said Erin Phillips, Victoria County Libraries supervisor with the Cape Breton Regional Library.

But Philips acknowledged there will likely be some sand also returned to the library.

There are six themes to the new nature backpacks, including bird watching, insects, night sky, in the forest, the beach and wild crafting.

For example, the crafting backpack includes books on finding and cooking wild edibles, nature journaling and flower pressing.

Binoculars, walking trail maps and books on birdhouses and bird identification are included in the birdwatching backpack.

“It really helps to enrich your outdoor experience, I think, when you can have the books and the information to learn,” said Phillips.

“We are all about reading and learning at the library, but we also do want to encourage a more all-encompassing style of learning — not just book learning, but really hands-on learning.”

Anyone with a library card can borrow one of the 15 the backpacks from any of the 12 regional library branches.

“They are more designed for individual or family use, not so much for a large group,” said Phillips.

The project received $2,000 from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. (image: from article)

Stillwater Library, MI

A quick search revealed that themed backpacks designed to get kids outside are offered by library systems big and small. From Milford, CT to San Diego. Nature Centers, and State Parks.

Wonder if my library card would work . . .