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Unique Lincoln Library initiative to give kids in need access to educational material – FOX Illinois

by Em Nguyen, Fox Illinois

Unique Lincoln Library initiative to give kids in need access to educational material

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) — 

It’s not just a collection of periodicals, books, and art.

No, it’s much more.

It’s the gift of knowledge.

“Bad libraries build collections,” said the Lincoln library director, Will O’Hearn, quoting the author, R. David Lankes. “Good libraries build services, and great libraries build communities.”

A community with the Lincoln Library, said the director, with a book version of the Angel Tree taking center stage.

“This is just a testament to what a great place Springfield is,” said O’Hearn.

The initiative is simple: pay off a library fine for a child who can’t afford it.

“One of the most important things that the youth in our community,” said O’Hearn. “Is access to a library and this gives a way for those who are less fortunate to do so.”

Overdue fees range from $1 to over $100, you can also pay off portions of fines, but it’s not about the money said one mother, who’s been taking her kids to the library since before they could walk.

“Education and reading are very important to a child’s life,” said Amber Elliot. “I know it’s played a major point in my life and being able to sustain my family and having a career and I’ve also instilled that in my own kids that you know.”

To help, all you have to do is pick an ornament on the gift display. It’s linked to one child in the community who can’t check out books. You take the ornament and choose a cost to pay off.

The initiative is for kids, ages 17 and below, who get notified of the good news by mail, just in time for the holidays.

“I’d be very thankful,” said one young patron, Nevaeh Hamende, who put herself in the shoes of others. She said can’t imagine not having library access.

“That they would do that,” she said. “They would take out their own money and their own time to do that for a kid that they don’t even know.”

The library expected 30 donations. It’s been over 125.

“Empowering them to do better,” said O’Hearn, of the kids in need. “To learn more and be more and inspiring them to learn more about themselves and their community.”

The Lincoln library has already raised over $3,500.

The “gift display” will be at the library until December 30th,

The library hopes to make this an annual holiday event.

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