The Southern Adirondack Library System has been working with two regional food distribution networks – the Comfort Food Community and Capitol Roots’ Squash Hunger Program – to reduce food waste by rescuing food and sharing it through libraries located in rural food deserts. Begun as a pilot program in 2017 after a conversation with Glens Falls Hospital, the initiative was imagined as a way to address health disparities in areas where people depended on subprime groceries (think Dollar Stores and gas stations) for their shopping. When Glens Falls Hospital expressed difficulty reaching some communities – all of which had public libraries – SALS suggested that we leverage our trusted position to share local fresh food with our communities.
At the same time, SALS was looking to make inroads in providing adult literacy services and realized that we couldn’t address literacy without also considering the wrap-around services needed by many adult learners. By providing fresh food, new people would visit our libraries and develop relationships that could lead to offering additional services.
Since 2017, the program has mushroomed to include ten libraries in three counties: Saratoga, Warren & Washington. Our second community partner, the Capitol Roots’ Squash Hunger program, joined the initiative in 2021, allowing SALS to expand its reach. In 2020, the Farm-2-Library program shared more than ten thousand pounds of fresh food through five libraries. In the first quarter of 2021, we have shared more than 5,000 pounds of fresh and shelf-stable food. We expect to continue to grow the program as we find additional community partners to support this work.
Our 2021 Participating Libraries
- Argyle Free Library
- Bancroft Public Library (Salem)
- Cambridge Public Library
- Corinth Free Library
- Pember Library & Museum
- Rockwell Falls Public Library
- Schuylerville Public Library
- Stillwater Public Library
- Waterford Public Library
- Whitehall Free Library
Libraries Mean Business
Since 2016, SALS’s Libraries Mean Business initiative has supported small businesses and entrepreneurs. We provide public programs at member libraries, funding to train Notary Publics for each SALS’s library, and are building a digital collection of business-related e-books and e-audiobooks on Overdrive
Outreach Advisory Committee
- Erica Freudenberger, Outreach, Engagement & Marketing Consultant, SALS
- Haley Graves, Community Engagement Coordinator, Comfort Food Community
- Jennifer Hurd, Director of the Round Lake Public Library
- Dr. Erin Krivitski, Assistant Director for Workforce Innovation & Training in the Office of Continuing Education at SUNY Adirondack
- Johanna MacKay, Instructional Design Librarian, Skidmore College Lucy Scribner Library
Outreach to Prisons
- Washington Correctional (72 Lock 11 Rd, Comstock, NY 12821)
- Great Meadow Correctional (11739 NY-22, Comstock, NY 128210)
Outreach to Jails
- Hamilton County Jail (South Shore Rd, Lake Pleasant, NY 12108)
- Saratoga County Jail (6010 County Farm Rd, Ballston Spa, NY 12020)
- Warren County Jail (1340 State Route 9, Lake George, NY 12845)
- Washington County Jail (399 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY 12828)
More information on Coordinated Outreach Services in New York
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