The Springfield community is ramping up its effort to give our children the best, healthiest, safest start in life. It’s called Every Child Promise. Librarians play a critical role, too, by helping parents prepare their children for kindergarten through regular story times and early learning activities.
The library and patrons have another opportunity to help our children – by providing food. A national study reveals that nearly 63,000 southwest Missouri children face uncertainty in finding their next meal, and may go to bed hungry. When children are hungry, they don’t grow and they certainly can’t learn.
That’s why the library will again partner with Ozarks Food Harvest on our fifth Food For Fines week Jan. 26 through Feb. 1. For each item of nonperishable food patrons donate at the checkout desk of any library branch or the Mobile Library, we will deduct 50 cents from their overdue fine balance. (Excludes fines for lost or damaged items.) The food bank needs canned or boxed meats, vegetables, soups and stews, etc. At the end of the week, we will donate all the food to Ozarks Food Harvest, the regional food bank that serves 28 Ozarks counties and reaches 20,000 individuals every week.
Since 2010, patrons donated almost 32,000 pounds of food during Food For Fines. In exchange each year, the library has waived an average of $3,900 in fines we normally would have collected.
One person watching his budget may not be able to donate enough food to make a difference, but one person’s contribution added to many others has made a huge difference – 32,000 pounds in four years.
The added benefit: Whittle down a $10 fine with food donations, and you can restore your or your child’s ability to check out books again or use the public computers.
No fines? Congratulations! You are still welcome to donate for Ozarks Food Harvest.
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For several years the library has downsized the audiobook on cassette collection as vendors stopped producing that format. We kept it because some visually impaired customers and other patrons still used them.
Over time the collection has shrunk and gotten old, and most of our former cassette fans have converted to CDs. So as of Wednesday (JAN. 15) the library will discontinue that format.
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