One perk of working at the library is witnessing everyday acts of community kindness. The library is a hub for information and learning, but it is also a shared resource space for all ages. Within our building, relationships are forged and strengthened. Even though we have seen a lot less of the community inside the library this year, we have still witnessed Stillwater’s goodwill.
On several occasions, citizens have picked up the trash that blows onto the library block. This action of beautifying our city and shared city property is a great example of a community act of kindness. It is a safe outdoor activity that citizens of all ages can participate in. Young children learn the value of keeping the earth and shared spaces clean and usable for all. Another example of community members supporting each has been the handwritten messages and pictures sent to the hospital staff. The library also continues to see our selection of community helper books in steady circulation.
When the library shifted to an all-virtual Summer Reading Program in 2020, one challenge component called “Village Life” was focused on doing something for your community. A suggested activity was doing a random act of kindness.
Here are a few examples of altruism that summer readers reported back to the library:
• “We made chalk words and pictures on our driveway, and we waved to our neighbors when they were walking.” – Kid response
• “We picked up trash as a family. We will continue to do that.” – Kid response
• “I helped my Mom set up things for school, organizing the bookshelves and typing up some papers for her. I also built a space puzzle with my family.” – Teen response
• “I vacuumed the house for my mom without her asking me to, I play Zombieoploy with my family and we also worked on a puzzle together.” – Teen response
Inside the library, we continue to see the public looking for ways to support the library. The most common example, donating books to the Friends of the Library book sale, is currently unavailable at this time. However, the Friends do have a shelf of books for sale inside the library. These are books donated before March 2020. All sales from the Friends go to the library to help pay for programs such as the Summer Reading Program and community-wide reading events.
With the library unable to take donations, many people are finding new ways of donating books and spreading the love of literature. Alternate options include donating to local nonprofits or placing books in Little Free Libraries.
Little Free Libraries have sprouted up across our town, and they are another example of community kindness. Little Free Libraries are small structures in which people place books for the public to use. The idea is “take a book, leave a book.” The library maintains a list of sites affiliated with us, called “branches” at library.stillwater.org/LittleFreeLibraries.php. All listings, including those in other communities, can be found at littlefreelibrary.org.
If you are interested in reading and sharing stories of kindness with children, the library has many books available for checkout. Here are a few suggestions:
• “The Kindness Book” by Todd Parr
• “Finding Kindness” by Deborah Underwood
• “Be Kind” by Pat Zietlow Miller
• “Kindness & Generosity: It Starts with Me” Jodie Shepherd
• “The Kindness Quilt” by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
• “Heidi Heckelbeck Lends a Helping Hand” by Wanda Coven
• “Chloe on the Bright Side” by Courtney Sheinmel
• “Make a Difference” by Sarah Dillard
Thank you for all the small and large acts of kindness you share with our community!