“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
I went into the weekend prepared to take it easy from a long and busy week. I quickly shifted my focus to the horror happening in Australia. I was watching a video that showed a small fraction of the animals and humans faced with this disaster. I began to think what I might be able to do to assist. I reminded myself of a conversation I had with my local Y‑Camp coördinator who was looking for a service project and a light bulb went off. Upon my return to work I contacted them, and I proposed a project to give back to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Australia. For this project, we will encourage patrons to stop by the library to write and/or draw something for WWF to let the animals know that we are thinking of them. Our program is called Animal Pen Pal.
The purpose of my article this month is to share how your library can begin an Animal Pen Pal program for WWF, along with other service project ideas.
Starting an Animal Pen Pal Program with WWF
An Animal Pen Pal program does not have to be specific to WWF; however, this is the focus on my library’s Animal Pen Pal currently.
Step 1: Visit WWF’s website for information about the wild fires and about their work. Quick fact: Only 5% of koalas still exist as quoted by WWF!
Step 2: Reach out to a current partner or a company organization/agency who will participate. Examples include: A local Y‑Camp, parks and recreation, conservation, United Way, or an after school program, to start your ideas rolling.
Step 3: Gather supplies, including pencils, paper, crayons, stickers, envelopes, puppets of Australian animals (kangaroos and koalas) and pictures.
Step 4: Set up a space at your library for patrons to drop by and write and/or draw something to send to WWF. Provide a space for them to take a photo of them holding one of the puppets, if desired.
Step 5: Gather all letters and drawings and send them off to the WWF, Australian.
Address: Level 1, 1, Smail Street Ultimo NSW 2007 or PO Box 528 Sydney NSW 2001.
Other Service Project Ideas:
Service Project #1: Storytime Food Drive: Partner with a local food drive and design a storytime around kindness. Encourage families to bring a non-perishable item to donate to the shelter.
Service Project # 2: Garden Cleanup: Design a program that encourages patrons to assist in cleaning up the library garden. Reach out to a local nursery and ask for a donation of flowers for the library garden and encourage patrons to help them.
Service Project #3: Recycled Crafts: Take a pledge to provide craft projects where recycled items are used. Create a recycled craft night where patrons attend with items and design and create any project they wish.
Articles and Websites on Libraries, Environmentalism, and Service
- Sustainable Thinking for Libraries
- Learn about Green Libraries
- National Day of Service website
- World Wildlife Conservation Ideas
- 35+ Service Projects for Kids
Mr. Z’s Book Suggestions on Service