Saturday at the Library
Last Saturday I wasn’t far from home in the mountain community of Franklin in Macon County, North Carolina, about an hour from my house. I was invited to the public library for a book fair. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting the lovely surprises the day held.
It was a dark and gloomy day with intermittent rain. Would that mean people with nothing else to do would come or did it mean they would stay home, dry and warm watching football games? The library was swarming with patrons all day. It was open for business as usual, but with the added attraction of thirty local authors signing their books with scheduled readings throughout the day. No rush to get home, a food truck was just outside the door. Friends of the Library offered gift wrapping for the books at reasonable prices, and provided breakfast for the authors before the event opened. How nice is that!
With Friends of the Library organization, lots of community volunteers, the library staff and a dedicated chairman who communicated by email regularly for weeks prior to the event, the day went off without a hitch. The tables were accessible, the reading room comfortable. A lot of promotion had gone before us so newspaper reporters were present.
One fun idea I will pass on to your communities, was the Cash Mob. I wasn’t sure what this was. The Cash Mob meets monthly. They announce where the meeting will be. Anyone in the community who wishes to be part of it, shows up for the “meeting” which is at some local business, with a $20 bill in hand and be willing to spend it at the business where the Mob is meeting that month. Suzanne, the bookstore owner of Books Unlimited in Franklin, told me they chose her business two months ago. About two dozen people showed up at the bookstore with their $20. They came in at 11 o’clock, everyone spent $20. Then it was her turn to make a donation to a community fund of her choice. The bookstore made a nice contribution to the community literacy foundation. November it was the library! At 11 o’clock they all came in, $20 in hand. Now the Friends of the Library will make a nice donation to a community charity. I think the Cash Mob is a terrific idea that any community could adopt. There’s no cost, no membership, no calendar. Just an announcement, show up, spend your $20 and leave. Then watch while another worthwhile community endeavor gets a little endowment. Everybody wins. It’s a community sustainability statement, isn’t it?
Thank you Macon County Library, volunteers and patrons for a great day and for enriching your community.