Giving shouldn’t be seasonal

Erin Barlow, Director
Gnadenhutten Public LibraryImage

Every holiday season we are overwhelmed with charitable opportunities.  We can donate food items at the bank, give our change at the grocery or donate toys at the local firehouse.  These are all great ideas, and I love it when libraries get involved, but always wonder why we don’t make more of an effort the rest of the year.  Certainly people are hungry in the spring and need clothing for the summer right?

This year one of my New Year’s Resolutions for the library is to make a conscious effort to collect items for the homeless and needy throughout the year. Because I am a nerd, I have already marked reminders in my planner to do something quarterly.  I don’t have the events planned out yet, but know that locally we have a homeless shelter and several food banks that could use our support.  We could even help the local animal shelters with pet supplies.

Think about it, if we strive to protect people from the elements in winter, wouldn’t they benefit from hats and sunscreen in the summer? As librarians we see the people who come in for free internet and DVD’s.  We know who comes in to cool off or warm up. We know the patrons who ride their bikes several miles to get to us.  If we see the need we should help if we can.

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So often we are doing the asking; for donations or grants for materials, programming and furniture that I believe people would appreciate seeing us give back as well.  It would benefit so many people and could even be a good PR opportunity for the library.  People like to support people helping others, and not just at Christmas.  This year hopefully the community will see the library not only with its hand out, but also giving others a hand up.  We are a small library, but hopefully we can make a big impact in 2014.

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