Friday, January 04, 2013

Library Gives Back to Community

Many businesses and organizations take part in a “Secret Santa” Gift Exchange during the holiday season, in which employees anonymously give presents to another employee leading up to a Staff Christmas, when the “Secret Santas” are revealed.

For the past two years, in the spirit of giving, the Mississippi Valley Library District, which includes both the Collinsville Memorial Public Library and the Fairmont City Library Center, has decided to be a “Secret Santa” for the community instead of trading names and exchanging gifts between staff members.

This year, the library district decided to adopt a local pregnancy center to donate items to. The district collected new and gently used items such as blankets and clothes, bottles and toys, diapers, soaps, and lotions for the center. Then, the center distributed the items to those who were in need of them.

In 2011, the district worked with the Collinsville Area Ministerial Association to find a family that could use a little help during the holidays. Staff members bought Christmas presents for every family member and supplied a meal basket filled with items to make a delicious Christmas breakfast (pancakes and eggs) and a hot Christmas dinner (turkey with stuffing).

Library Clerks Cecilia L. and Jim R. agree. “It’s a difficult time for a lot of people right now, so I hope that being able to help relieves a little of that burden for them,” Cecilia said. Jim reiterated, “Christmas is about giving, and nothing is better than giving to those in need, especially children.”

Thanks to its overwhelmingly successful Food For Fines Program, in which patrons can donate non-perishable food items and hygiene products to the library in exchange for having their regular overdue fines waived, the library district also donates thousands of items to the Collinsville Food Pantry and Fairmont City’s St. Vincent de Paul, each year.

Yet another example of the library district giving back to the community is the annual Christmas ‘Store’ at the Fairmont City Library Center. The library - in conjunction with other area organizations and businesses - collects new or gently used coats and other warm items throughout the year, then gives them away for free at their annual “Santa at the Library” event. Patrons are also welcome to take photos with Santa and make a Gingerbread House (free of charge) at this event.

“As librarians, we strive to find the information and resources people need. This is no different,” added Theresa B., Head of Circulation for the Collinsville Library.

To suggest an organization that the library district should lend a helping hand to in the future, please contact Theresa at 618.344.1112 or theresab@mvlibdist.org.
Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant