Erin Barlow, Director
Gnadenhutten Public Library
We are a small library with a small staff and even smaller budget. However, we like new things too! Who doesn’t want to freshen up the library and give patrons something new to notice? Maybe even create a little buzz in the community.
Over the years we have been able to “help” other libraries recycle some items they no longer need. We have been fortunate enough to locate paperback spinners, a book truck and most recently a circulation desk. I believe this type of cooperation and sharing between libraries is what will keep the small library alive in tough times. As you know, small libraries have small library problems. Who better understands that new paperback spinners are out of the budget than another small library?
Recently our book drop needed a makeover. It is an old post office mail box that had gotten rusty and faded with age. We priced getting a new one, but when that turned out to be fiscally impossible we decided to use the talents we had at our disposal. A Board Member power washed and sanded it town for us and our youth librarian (and artist) turned our boring book drop into a colorful turtle.
The little things make a difference. Patrons notice them, even if they don’t say anything. We are now having a contest to name the turtle which is bringing additional people into the library. On top of that when a local newspaper mentioned the book drop and our budget wouldn’t cover purchasing a new one we received a couple of donations to help with expenses.
I suppose my point is that just because we are small doesn’t mean we have to remain stagnant. There are ways to freshen up the library that require little or no money. Plus you might find out a hidden talent someone on your staff or in your community would like to share. This afternoon I found out that one of our library assistants took some courses on floral design. I haven’t decided what to do with that yet, but you bet around Christmas and in the spring I’ll be brainstorming for some ways to get more color in here.