It all started with a post from a social media page that made us wonder how many little libraries and pantries were in our area. We posted that very questions on an area community page and the comments, answers, suggestions, requests just flooded in. With such engagement and interest, we decided to start a Facebook page to keep the momentum going. And so, Dona Ana County Little Libraries and Pantries, (DACLLP), was born just after the new year. Membership, interest, and support keeps growing, and we just keep responding to the energy. Today, we’re proud to say that in just six short months, the number of libraries and pantries across Dona Ana County has grown by about 25%, and we’re currently working on 10 more.
Our overall goal is to install libraries and/or pantries in rural areas with little resources or areas that don’t already have little libraries in the vicinity. Both cost-effective and fun, libraries are an amazing way to reach families and individuals, engage the community, encourage reading for all, and increase food security. Through collaboration with area non-profits, private donors, local businesses, library stewards, and builders, we connect libraries with interested stewards, many who provide direct services to families, or in areas where families and individuals are already visiting. Some of our other activities include coordinating donations of books and pantry items to keep established libraries and pantries stocked. We fundraise and coordinate engaging book and resource “drop” events, maintain a map of libraries and pantries to increase access, and provide information to the public about building.
The DACLLP Committee is made up of area educators, program coordinators, and library staff, all who volunteer their time. We meet regularly to strategize, network, and plan upcoming events. We are always open to present about the project to groups or clubs who are interested. We’ve also welcomed several guests to our meetings. Please feel free to reach out anytime.
We’ve received so much interest and support from the community, that we’ve decided to expand! Several individuals have reached out to us for support in their communities, so we’ve created a second Facebook page; Espanola Valley Little Libraries and Pantries. Los Lunas Area Little Libraries and Pantries will soon follow. We have our eye on a few other areas as well. With that, our map has just gone state-wide. What a great activity for families to do on a road trip….visit little libraries away from home.
We have several events coming up, including the Hatch Valley Literacy and Resource Fair which we were invited to be a part of. It will take place July 30th and 31st at Hatch Valley High School. There will be live readings featuring the LCPS Board President Ray Jaramillo, author of “Gust, Gust, Gust” and free books for all ages. College representatives and information about employment, daycare, Pre-k, and kinder will also be available.
To find more information about Dona Ana County Little Libraries and Pantries or to get involved, see our Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Tricia Heffelfinger, DACLLP
The SUCCESS Partnership is a prenatal to career readiness education initiative founded in 2013. The collaborative is supported by a diverse cross-sector group of organizations comprised of parents, education professionals, nonprofit organizations, businesses, regional partners, and community leaders committed to improving educational outcomes in Dona Ana County. The primary support organizations for the SUCCESS Partnership collaborative are Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Ngage New Mexico, La Clinica de Familia Family Services, and NMSU Center for Community Analysis.
For more information, or if you would like to be involved, please contact Sommer Mitchell, SUCCESS Partnership Communications Coordinator, at email@example.com.