We’ve made our opinions very clear on the subject: libraries are integral to the ecosystem of the community. Beyond books, they are places where people socialize, teach themselves new skills, and even take care of each other in difficult times. You, if you’re like us (which we’re sure you are), want to contribute and give back in a very heartfelt way.
Everyone donates books and money, and while I’m in no way discouraging that, it strikes some people as passive and impersonal. We’ve come up with five things you can do to assume an active role in your favorite local library. Not only will it be satisfying (in a karma kinda way), but it’ll silence the library cyincs.
Design Posters for Your Library’s Events
Image courtesy of Pinterest.
A sign of a thriving library, for both politicians and casual patrons, is a colorful advertisement for the events inside. You can be the one to go beyond the Times New Roman/pink printer paper combo and turn heads with your own poster designs. You don’t need to be a Picasso – those would be some weird posters – all you need is an artful mind. If you let your imagination flow into the fliers, it will draw the right people to the readings and screenings and everything inbetween. Some people even take it one step further by planning their own events and designing the posters, but hey, no pressure.
Help Repair Shelves and Chairs
Think about how often furniture in your house breaks, bends the wrong way, wears out, or ‘starts acting funny’. Now imagine everyone in your neighborhood trying to use it every week. Libraries need a bonafide handiman, someone that can be relied on to maintain the volumes without having an avalanche of books rain down on a kid reaching for Captain Underpants on the top shelf. If you see something broken or in need of repair at your library, don’t just grumble under your breath about funding; offer to lend a hand.
Image courtesy of Giphy.
Sure, children come for the books, but you know what makes them (and their families) stay? Entertainment. Puppet shows, engaging read-alongs, ghost stories and musical performances are all staples that you remember from when you visited the library growing up. Most likely, those weren’t Broadway performers with an afternoon to spare – only immensely talented, unwaveringly committed locals that wanted to make the library be more than the sum of its parts. If you’ve got a musical or performing bone in your body, it could be your turn.
“Adopt” a Shelf
Some libraries around the country have founded a novel idea: having dedicated patrons ‘adopt’ a shelf in their favorite section. What does that mean? Usually it means that, in exchange for doing the orderly tasks of organizing and cleaning the books, you get a bit of creative control. You can decorate your section, set out ‘featured books’ you feel others need to pick up, and even have your name hanging above it like a certain businessman that need not be named. If your library doesn’t have a program like this yet, you could be the groundbreaker to start it.
Deliver Books to Those who Can’t Visit
Seniors, people with illnesses or disabilities, and other housebound people are in even greater need of these resources because of their difficulty in reaching the library. Groups like Operation Homebound need volunteers to help deliver books, DVDs, and everything else you’d get from the library to these individuals as well. It’s a neighborly gesture that takes less time than it seems, and you get the added pleasure of getting to know the reciever – someone you might not have met otherwise.
Suffice to say, there are countless other ways you can help a library. The levels beyond this – becoming a trustee, voting for library funding, or running for office – are all crucial, but would not get as far without inventive grassroots support. Still stumped with how your ‘special set of skills’ could be utilized? Ask a librarian, they’ll know.