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Library Fines Help Feed the Needy

groceriesPublic libraries throughout the country are coming up with creative compromises to clear fines and help those in need. According to the New York Times, several branches in Illinois, Ohio and New Hampshire have started accepting donations of groceries or canned goods, instead of money. The food is then donated to local food banks and shelters. Librarians nationwide have feared that in this down economy, overdue fines are keeping people from visiting libraries and returning materials. These donation programs have proved very popular in their communities, allowing people to clear their record and re-gain access to library resources, while helping the less fortunate. Robert Rice, the public library director in Pelham, N.H is proud of what their food-for-fines program has achieved so far. “We got our materials back and did something positive for the community. Use is up greatly, and budgets are being cut.”

Due to the economic downturn, food banks and shelters nationwide are supporting record numbers of families. If you would like to make a donation in your community, please visit feedingamerica.org to find a location near you. Additionally, if you would like to donate your time, and are looking for volunteer opportunities, visit www.serve.gov to search for areas of interest and geographic locations. Internationally, the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti on Jan 12, 2010, has taken center stage. If you are financially able, please consider making a donation to UNICEF at www.unicefusa.org or the American Red Cross via their website www.redcross.org or TEXT “HAITI” to 90999. Even small donations can make a huge difference to someone in need. Thank you for your kindness and willingness to help.

Read New York Times article

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