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Memphis Public Library

Innovation Summary

Friends of the Library started an Outreach Project as a sub-category of our Book Sale Department of Friends.

Problem Statement

Friends of the Library had an abundance of donated and discarded books that we were unable to use in any of our three operations - bookstore, book sales or online books. So, we started an Outreach project.


One of our members was appointed to be in charge of Outreach. He began by finding out what type of books non-profit organizations in the community needed and then providing those organizations with books. For example, the Shelby County Juvenile Court contacted Friends and the Memphis Public Library as they were trying for accreditation. The Friends donated enough books to set up an entire library for the men's and women's side of the Juvenile Court library and they achieved their accreditation. We also provide books to Hope House, a non-profit for children who are HIV positive, the men's jail and the women's jail, homeless veterans, the Church Health Center and the Veteran's Administration Hospital. We make sure the organizations such as Juvenile Court, jails, homeless veterans and the VA have a continual supply of books throughout the year.


In a very short time non-profits have heard that we help provide books and we are getting calls from church libraries, school libraries and many other organizations. They tell us what they need and we try to fill their needs. We pack the books and they pick them up at the library. We also have many books left over after our book sales, probably over 6,000. We offer those books to non-profits. We provide boxes for them and they are allowed to show up the minute the sale is over to pack up all the books they are able to handle and take them to their organizations.