Library Currency (Part 2)

Benson Memorial Library Summer Reading Tokens (Finn Hoenke as a snake in the background)

Back in August 2018 I thought about the possibility of library currency as I wondered aloud about some library stuff. It’s great to toss ideas out there all the time and see what happens, and for a person like me who has an idea every minute sometimes it just helps to toss them out into the world and move on. I haven’t dove into the summer reading treehouse or billboard idea in that post yet, but they’re still in my brain somewhere.

Anywho, let’s talk about library currency. I know I am for sure not the first person to ever think about this. Actually all credit for sparking this idea in my brain goes back to my mother in law (who is my favorite librarian out there) and my partner Haley. I like the idea of a library currency that rewards good library behaviors, engages community members in programs, and helps patrons with library fines. All in all I think a library currency goes a long way in promoting kindness in the community.

This year for our summer reading program we’re going to be implementing a version of library currency to the program. As in years past we’ve always had a “summer reading store” full of books and trinkets for kids to choose from when they’ve completed an activity or come to an event. This idea works for our library so we stick with it. The community and those that participate really like this idea. It may not work for your community because we’re all very different. That’s cool.

This year instead of giving out tickets that can be used in the summer reading store we’ve went with wooden tokens with our name and library related symbol on them. I am digging this! Over the past few years I have seen my two sons take an interest in collecting older coins. I’ve never done this myself but I can understand the thinking behind it…they’re like little collectors items. Better yet are with these wooden tokens we’ve got the name of our library on them, hopefully reminding the person who is holding it that they should visit their public library. Over the next few years I hope we continue this wooden token trend, each year with a different design on them. Maybe someone will collect them over the years and amass a neat little collection that reminds them of the positive times they had in the library.

This idea may work or this idea may not work. The important thing is to always keep dreaming and to keep on trying new things for your community. They are the most important thing in public libraries.

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