Acts of Service Matter - No Matter the Size

Acts of Service Matter - No Matter the Size

by Brianne Anderson


“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness...”

On February 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave what was to be his last sermon, ‘‘The Drum Major Instinct,’’ from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church. If you have never listened to a recording of Dr. King giving this speech, I highly recommend you head on over to YouTube and look it up. The poetry and art embedded in his passion leaves any listener spellbound.

The foundation of his sermon was one of giving of oneself. That any person, no matter how young or old, educated or not could be the greatest because anyone can give of themselves to others.

On January 17, 2022 our nation will celebrate Dr. King and his legacy. Ames Public Library (APL) will honor Dr. King by hosting a day of service in his spirit. As you shop this holiday season, consider picking up extra bottles of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, body wash and feminine hygiene products. All these items can be donated to APL starting January 2nd in the Library’s lobby.

Then, on Monday the 17th from 10:00am – 12:00pm, volunteers are welcome to help pack the donated supplies into hygiene kits to be distributed by the local Bridge Home organization and others for members of our community who might need them.

Dr. King didn’t say we needed to contribute a ton of money or be big and splashy. His point was that we can all contribute, even in small ways. For someone in a transitional housing situation, basic supplies might be hard to find. Making an effort to give or taking time with your family to come pack kits may not seem like a big deal, but if all of us did a little more to be servants in our community we could all start to build the world Dr. King dreamed of.

If you are a high school student and writing is more your speed, consider entering the MLK Day Essay Contest sponsored by the Ames/Story County MLK Day Celebration Committee. Contestants are encouraged to become familiar with Dr. King’s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and then explain the significance of a specific quote from this text and its relevance to the United States today. The reading, quote, and additional submission requirements can be found at

High school students wanting to learn more about service can also join APL’s Teen Advisory Group. TAG is run by our Teen Librarian and gives teens ages 12-18 an opportunity to get involved in the planning and implementation of programs around the Library. From raising money for new books to organizing programs around sustainability in our world, our TAG teens build lasting friendships and discover the impact their time and efforts can have on our community.

Dr. King believed in a world better than the one he lived in. Today, we can still strive to build that world by giving of ourselves whatever we can in the service of others. For more information on the MKL Day of Service from APL, please visit our website or give us a call. We’d be happy to help!