Social Library, Volume 79

Jennifer Peterson /

Image courtesy Red Hook Public Library on Facebook

As we continue our Social Library series, featuring posts from libraries we follow on Facebook, we’re excited to share the great work of these five libraries. From civic conversations to composting, and from a writing contest to library advocates, these examples show the range of innovation and engagement libraries are bringing to their communities.

  • Red Hook Public Library in New York shared a wonderful photo of a patron who used a Library Value Calculator to figure out the monetary value of his yearly library usage: "My library saved me $4,800!" The post was in preparation for New York state's Library Advocacy Day and includes a link for the community to advocate for the library with government officials.
  • We learned from a post that the New Orleans Public Library is partnering with Schmelly's Dirt Farm to turn food scraps into nutrient-rich compost through Weekly Food Waste Drop-off events at two library locations. Since January, the sites have collected more than 2,000 pounds of food waste that would have ended up in landfill. Check out the video of a similar program run through the Queens Library.
  • Hillsboro Public Library in Oregon joined in celebrating #ReadAcrossAmerica with Crazy Socks Day. We think there should be more pictures like this, of library staff participation, on the internet!
  • Sherwood Public Library in Oregon is hosting their fourth annual Six Word Story Contest. "There’s a literary legend that Ernest Hemingway, while having dinner with fellow writers of the famous Algonquin Round Table in New York City, bet he could write a story in just six words. They bet not. He grabbed a pen and a napkin and wrote: 'For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.' They paid up and Hemingway called it his best work. Now it’s your turn!" The Sherwood community is invited to submit their own six word stories for a chance to win prizes.
  • Image courtesy Lexington Public Library on Facebook
  • Lexington Public Library in Kentucky is participating in the city-wide community engagement event, On the Table, inviting the public to join table discussions to help inform the work and priorities of Lexington. The library will be hosting 7 public sessions on March 15th as part of #onthetablelex. WebJunction learned about this model at the Citizen University conference last year, with a family-style lunch led by the Chicago Community Trust, modeling their community program On the Table. They describe it as "an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and create a unifying experience across the region. Thousands of residents gather in small groups to share a meal and discuss the challenges and opportunities they face. These conversations can inspire new ways we can work together to make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic." The project provides a set of toolkits that can be used in other communities, to use shared mealtimes as a way to empower citizen engagement.

Thank you to all these libraries for their great work, and if you'd like to see your library featured in future Social Library editions, please let us know via [email protected] or find us on Facebook.