Creating a New Tradition: A Tag Sale Yields Goodwill along with Revenue

Article excerpt

Half a dozen tween girls are crowded around several large tables stacked with odds and ends in the windows of the Meekins Library in the center of the small town of Williamsburg, Massachusetts (population 2,500).

Two girls kneeling on the floor are pulling things out from under an old oak table that has been part of the library furnishings since 1897. Two more girls are peering over a friend's shoulders, excited with each surprise emerging from the boxes. Others stand peering into baskets on another table. Each girl has a whimsical polar fleece scarf draped around her neck and they are comparing patterns and laughing. But, what are they really doing?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

They're supporting their local public library.

Meekins Market, our small library's holiday tag sale, is part of the newest recycling activity in our community. As a fundraiser and "Friend-raiser: the Meekins Market offers a fun way for area residents to shop while raising much-needed revenue for the library.

The Meekins Market started as an experiment. In recent years our services have been in greater demand, but financial resources have not kept pace. Having been through a series of "clean outs" with family and friends who were unsure what to do with the still-useful items they were discarding, I wondered if Meekins Library could combine recycling and fundraising in a seasonal tag sale (combined with a community food and clothing drive). It would all be sponsored by the Friends of the Williamsburg Libraries and held in November and December--holiday season, when everyone has less free cash yet wants to find the perfect present for their mother or sister or grandparent or friend or classmate or colleague.

The first year we started small: one table with a few items donated by library volunteers and Friends. Most of the items were geared to be affordable for schoolchildren, who could shop for gifts for their siblings and classmates. …