Serving the Community at your Ames Public Library

Serving the Community at your Ames Public Library

by Danielle Ziegler

Since 1994, the third Monday in January has been Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the only National Day of Service in the United States.  It’s a day to encourage people to find a way to serve in their community. Martin Luther King, Jr. dedicated his life to the service of others. We here at the Ames Public Library encourage you to honor his legacy. 

One way that you can serve is by participating in Ames Public Library’s Supply Drive for ACCESS.  ACCESS stands for Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support, and they are dedicated to helping survivors of abuse and violence.  ACCESS offers crisis lines, advocacy, counseling, community education and support, and more. They also help survivors with housing needs. This is just a small overview of all the things that ACCESS does. If you’re interested in learning more, check out their website at

If you’d like to help support ACCESS and all the wonderful work that they do in our community, the library’s supply drive will be running for the entire month of January.  The donations requested are new and unused bath towels, wash rags, kitchen towels, shampoo and conditioner for all hair types, toilet paper, and paper towels.  These can be dropped off in the lobby anytime that the library is open.

If you’re not able to donate, educating yourself can be an act of service as well.  Why not take January as a month to read about issues that were important to Martin Luther King, Jr?  For adults, try “Anti-Racist Ally” by Sophie Williams. Although the focus is on race, it also looks at sexism, classism, and more. 

For people looking for books to read with their children, some of the favorites in the youth department include “Race Cars: A Children’s Book About White Privilege” by Jenny Devenny.  It’s a great start to discussion about white privilege and allyship.  Another book that might be a good one to read with children is “Saturday at the Food Pantry” by Diane O’Neill. This would be a great opportunity for discussion about food insecurity. There are also adaptations of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi for both elementary students and teens to be found.

Remember to use all of 2023, not just Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to serve this year. January will be a great time to begin, whether by donations, education, or both.