Since 1992, the Learning Peace Center (LPC) has been a bright spot in the back of Plowshare's beautiful, fair trade gift shop, helping connect Plowshare's two projects: gifts and education for peace. Sales of the books and other resources in the center have helped fund our education programs and events over the years. This year, the LPC has been moved from the back of the Plowshare Gift Shop to its new location, brightly lit by the front windows and furnished with comfortable chairs for reading. In addition, the shelves have been reorganized and stocked with a variety of new books. 

Customers and others who come to the Plowshare Center soon see that we are more than just a "cute boutique" with handmade clothes, jewelry, baskets and other works of art. With its educational resources, the LPC helps people realize the connection between the amazing things sold in the shop, and economic justice for the artisans in economically developing countries, mostly women working in cooperatives supporting each other's work. Visitors to the LPC also learn about a whole array of issues of social concern including: living healthy, peaceful life styles; promoting sustainable environmental practices; embracing cultural diversity; exploring conflict management solutions as an alternative to war and violence; and many other areas that reflect the mission of the Plowshare Center, "Making Peace Relevant to the World Around Us." 

For twenty years, the LPC has provided educational materials, from bumper stickers, buttons, and world peace flags, to books, brochures, and other materials on justice and peace issues. Flyers announce Plowshare's many forums, speakers, and other events offered to the larger community. Please stop by and explore our exciting Learning Peace Center!





Little Free Libraries are springing up all over the U.S. and in thirty-two other countries. It has been said that this "...simple idea to house free books in quirky little buildings on posts is bringing neighborhoods together and enhancing literacy around the world." (On Wisconsin, Winter, 2012)

At Plowshare, our Little Free Peace Library is expanding our mission of building a culture of peace, by providing free books, magazines, DVDs, and tapes ranging in scope from the global nonviolence movement to personal, inspirational readings. Our circulating collection, established by donated materials from the community, includes such topics of interest as: peacemaking and community-building; alternative strategies to address violence; peace history and analysis; multicultural stories; environmental concerns; healthy family/parenting information; and social justice issues.

Our library box is located on the sidewalk just outside the Plowshare Center building, weather allowing. At other times, it stands near the Learning Peace Center at the front of the Shop. We invite you to come downtown to Plowshare and check out the Little Free Peace Library, help yourself to a book and/or donate other educational materials that you may want to share with your neighbors! (Please take your donations to the front counter and give them to the gift shop clerk. Children's books and DVDs are especially appreciated.) 

Parents, grandparents, and other concerned adults interested in passing along a legacy of diversity and social justice to the children in their lives will want to be aware of the small but important collection of books currently available atPlowshare Fair Trade Marketplace.

Galimoto (written by Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Catherine Stock) is the story of a young boy in Malawi, Africa who is both enterprising and creative. Kondi uses these skills to obtain bits of wire and fashion a push toy in the shape of a car.  The book, intended for ages four to eight, shows the dramatic difference in the material goods available to most families in the United States and in many other places in the world. Small children will identify with Kondi’s longing for the toy.

As baseball season works its way toward the World Series, a sports story may fit the bill. Barbed Wire Baseball (written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu) tells the story of a young man who uses his love for baseball to get himself and those around him through a very difficult situation. Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura was born in Hawaii and steadfastly followed his dream to become a baseball player. He eventually played in games with such baseball greats as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, “Zeni” was among the more than 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent who, because of their ethnicity, were imprisoned in internment camps to wait out the war. While in the camp, he demonstrated great tenacity, optimism, and leadership, not allowing the situation to break his spirit or curb his love of baseball. The book is beautifully illustrated and should inspire most early elementary school readers.

Another illustrated baseball story that will interest baseball fans at the elementary level is Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige Vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio (written by Robert Skead and illustrated by Floyd Cooper.) It is set in 1936, when African American baseball players were not drafted for major league teams, no matter how good they were. As young sports enthusiasts follow the story of one special game where Paige and Dimaggio face off, they will also feel the injustice of what transpires there.

These titles – and others for children and adults – are available in the Education Library at the front of Plowshare Fair Trade Marketplace. Please come in to browse.