The main entrance to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center is now open. Van Pelt Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library are currently open to Penn Card holders, Penn affiliates, and certain visitors. See our Service Alerts for details.

Beyond Books and Screens

Backpacks for Birders - now available to Borrow

Backpacks for members of the Penn community interested in birding are now available, with binoculars and birding guides.

Photo of Birding backpack and contents

Back in January, I was approached by Sandy Phuong, a junior in the College working with the sustainability office as a student Eco Rep that works with the Bird Friendly Penn group.  Sandy was interested in creating a program to lend backpacks for birders at Penn, inspired by the Free Library of Philadelphia’s birding backpack program, which started at 3 neighborhood libraries in Philly back in 2017.  We were already lending binoculars from the media lab, largely due to the interest of birders here on campus, so I felt this was a great idea.

I’m happy to say that, funded through the generosity of Penn Sustainability’s Green Fund we now have the birding backpacks, and they are ready for members of the Penn community to borrow. Current Penn students, faculty, and staff can login to our equipment lending system with their PennKey and reserve a backpack. (Book by Category > Equipment > Miscellaneous > Binoculars) Be sure to bring your PennCard with you when you come to the Vitale Digital Media Lab to pick them up.

The backpacks contain:

  • a pair of Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 binoculars
  • ornithologist David Allen Sibley’s comprehensive birding identification guide to birds in eastern North America
  • a guide on “Backyard Birdwatching in Philadelphia” from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • info on spring migration from Bird Friendly Penn.

They can be borrowed for up to 3 days / 72 hours—perfect for a weekend-long exploration of the birds in our area, or just a short visit to the bio pond.

These birding backpacks are available for you to borrow from the Vitale Digital Media Lab, and will soon also be available at the Education Commons and at the Veterinary Library.