Mansfield City Schools' Laundry Basket Library was established in 2001 as a community outreach by Debra McKee, Title 1 Family Involvement Coordinator, at that time. When funding for the program discontinued, Deb began enlisting volunteers and soliciting donations.
The purpose of this project is to provide access to books for families across Mansfield. Laundry baskets filled with books for all ages, are placed in supermarkets, laundromats, hospitals, bus stations, clinics, shelters, and carry-outs. Each basket is labeled with the invitation to "FREE BOOKS. Take a couple".
The books are for all ages with the hopes that Mom and Dad or older and younger siblings will pick up a book to read as well.
Laundry Basket Library, operates with a team of dedicated Retired Senior Volunteers (RSVP) and Mansfield City Schools retired employees who sort books then fill and deliver the baskets to sites around town. The success of this project is demonstrated by its growth from one volunteer and two sites in 2001, to a network of volunteers representing ten partner organizations, and twenty-five sites. Baskets are restocked twice a month creating a distribution of approximately 1000 books per month. Books are donated by community members, as well as, by groups such as; the Volunteers of America, Girl and Boy Scouts book drives, Friends of the Library, Graham Chevy Town, Ohio Area Agency on Aging, The Republican Women's Club, and churches. A James Patterson Page Turner Award grant for $5,000.00 was received in 2006 which helped expand and add needed genres.
Deb is always looking for more volunteers and donations. If you have books that you no longer want or have use for, please keep this project in mind. And, if you would like to volunteer please let Deb know. Deb is now retired from Mansfield City Schools but is continuing this worthwhile project. If you would like to reach Deb to donate books or your time, please call her at 419.566.5091.