Beginning in March, CfR, in a cooperative effort with Kitchen Sink, one of our wonderful local cafes, has launched a different type of outreach and community connection effort - a lending library.
We're grateful that we have a large number of books donated to us each month. Most go right on the book shelves in our waiting room, and clients are encouraged to borrow them. It doesn't take much encouragement, though; they are hungry for something to read.
Now we're expanding our lending library and promoting Care for Real at the same time by placing books containing a short message about CFR, a book mark and a brochure at Kitchen Sink, 1107 W. Berwyn.
We hope this will remind people of who we are and what we do, encourage people to shop at a local business before getting on the Berwyn El (you need something to read with that coffee and bagel) and, eventually, become a conduit for connecting people in a stronger community.
At the end of each month, the books at Kitchen Sink will be replaced with a new set and the old set returned to our shelves and given away.
If you like this idea, you can help us in four ways.
- Suggest topics for subsequent "libraries." This month it's just a grab bag, but in the future we'd like to do themes such as "Chicago Authors" or "American Food Policy" (think Fast Food Nation and Omnivore's Dilemma"). Obviously, if you have specific books that go to a theme, that would be a great start.
- Give us more books. Books are popular items here for our clients; we regularly run out. Obviously, we want to encourage you to give your old books to us when you're done with them.
- Find us more locations and then help us stock them. Approach cafes you know. Tell them you'd like to start this program there, and we'll supply the reading material. But you have to help us switch them out once a month.
- Finally, money. The first batch of bookmarks cost us $200, which was paid for by a group of involved volunteers. We never pull money out of the food budget for anything that is not directly food related. We'd like to approach some local schools to design bookmarks that speak to their school or the community, but we'd like to do it with the funding in hand to pay for production.