>> Monday, August 5, 2013
Ever since I can remember, walking into a library filled me with excitement. All those books! All that knowledge and information! All those mysteries to unravel and new worlds to discover! And as the electronic age has advanced, libraries have kept the pace, by providing digital movies, music, and internet access. The concept of public libraries has a fascinating history, and they are no doubt one of the most successful publicly-funded institutions.
The library in my town had a humble beginning in 1907 with the lending of a few books on a drugstore shelf. Of course in the next century that modest first library was improved and expanded many times over. The most recent structure is pictured below. The Spanish-influenced architecture reflects the theme of the entire downtown renovation project. Of everything that has been made "new again" the library is the best feature yet.
Aside from the most helpful staff imaginable, the building site is ideally located, with plenty of parking, accessible hours and a totally modern facility within. In the common area there's a coffee house, a used book store and several bulletin boards for community use.
There's also a series of small cases --six in all-- where I placed vegan-related materials in during the month of March. It coordinated with a Florida Voices for Animals Meatless March campaign...
In July I had one of the larger interior cases to display even more information. This time I highlighted all the vegan, animal-friendly, plant-based food options as well. In hindsight, I wished that I had included more books and that I had additional platforms to double the display area... But I took advantage of hanging and stacking items to make up for the lack of them. I wanted the "vegan options" to appear fun, varied, and abundant. Of course I realize that the majority of nutrition should come from fresh whole foods. Still, this was a good opportunity to show the alternative transitioning choices as well.
People showed a lot of interest while I set up the case. I struck up positive conversations with many who were curious to know "what's this about?". I checked back a few times to make sure the montage was okay. Each time I was pleased to find individuals in front of the case who were looking things over. And isn't it wonderful when good minds start to think?
The time it took to set up and break down the display was nominal compared to 31 days of public viewing. Where else can you get this kind of free space in a friendly, community setting to advocate our message? If you've got a library, you've got access to a great advocacy tool! Even if it's just placing brochures on the bulletin board... it's e-a-s-y outreach that's totally cost-free!
I've reserved a case again for November and would love suggestions! In the meantime I'm also wondering what would be involved in using one of the meeting/video rooms for a showing of the Gary Yourofsky presentation, Peaceable Kingdom, Earthlings or another relevant film... Thanks to the useful information at the Tribe of Heart site, I'll get all the help I need to plan such an event, and to learn how to conclude it with a productive Q*A session.
Good information is a valuable gift to seek and to share. Thanks to all who are vegan and spreading this urgent message in your own unique way!