I’m a big fan of the library. We check out lots of books, but there are so many other ways to use local libraries. This post is part of a series about the many ways to make the most of local libraries because Libraries Are More Than Books.
Libraries are way more than just books. Libraries are increasingly becoming centers for collaboration, cooperation, and community. As a central location and meeting point for many, libraries can help facilitate community collection and donation programs.
Our library currently facilitates two community support programs. The library is not responsible for managing either of them but hosts collection and drop-off boxes for the program owners.
Currently, the library acts as a temporary host for a shoe drive organized by the local high school through the Soles4Souls program. The high school students managing the project connected with the librarian, and they agreed to leave a couple of boxes at the library as an additional collection location for the initiative.
Earlier this week, we dropped off six pairs of shoes we no longer needed. Some of them were worn out and unsuitable for gifting to another family or donating to a thrift shop while others were still in good condition for reuse. Programs like Soles4Souls recycle the shoes and use them for a variety of programs.
Our library also hosts a hyper-local food pantry, formally run by a local girl scout troop and now managed by a community member who is passionate about addressing food insecurity.
The micro food pantry resides in an unlocked shed on library property. The library collects donations inside the building and next to the food pantry shed. The library employees are not responsible for managing the food pantry but work with the community member in charge of the food pantry as needed. She regularly stops by to restock, organize, and maintain the micro food pantry that is open to anyone in the community without approval requirements.
I’ll continue to shout from the rooftops that libraries provide more value to their communities than just dusty book warehouses that could be replaced by Amazon. Does your library host or facilitate community collection and donation programs? If so, I’d love to hear how they get involved to engage citizens in community support programs.
About The Author
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at WasteWell, a company that provides composting resources and local curbside compost collection services, and Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.