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Tiny Mass. library turns to YouTube to raise money

Posted by Delia Cabe  March 7, 2012 10:30 AM

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The M. N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury, Mass., is cramped, the heating grate melts shoe soles, and it has no running water (it has a composting toilet). Its dollhouse proportions have lost its charm for the town's residents (population 1800). The library was built 110 years ago to serve Shutesbury's then smaller population of 400 residents.

The state library commission agreed that the town was overdue for a new library and approved its plans with a caveat: The commission would fund 60 percent of the cost--$2.1 million--if the library raises the rest--$1.4 million--by June 30. With $180,000 raised and an anonymous gift of $150,000 if they can match it, the library made a video to raise awareness about its plight. Think of it as an online calorie-free bake sale.

From the YouTube post:

Features of our current library building:
* No running water. The composting toilet and hand sanitizer goes only so far with kids in tow
* So small that our weekly story hours can only accommodate 5 or 6 children
* Librarian must turn away volunteers, since we can only fit two adults behind the desk
* Can't fit people lingering over the stacks; it's in, a quick browse, and out
* No room for students to study
* Zero privacy for people wanting to use one of our two computers
* Can't host any events or meetings for more than a handful of people
* Free wifi (only part of our town has high speed internet of any kind). People sit with their laptops in their cars, since there's literally no room in the building

That's right--there's no room in our cute little library to sit and read a book!

Here's the video that shows what life is like at this popular library.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Delia Cabe's work has appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, Self, Prevention, Scientific American Presents, and other publications. In between posts, you can read Cabe's tweets at!/DeliaCabe, More »

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