Lending libraries are a great way to encourage adoption education both pre and post adoption. They are relatively easy to maintain and are affordable.
Lending libraries are a great way to show your families that you are committed to their success and are willing to be with them for the long run. Creating a Family has the following tips for creating a lending library that will thrive for the long term.
How to Create an Adoption Lending Library for Families
- Allocate space on your website for your lending library and to list book and resources that are available. Mention the lending library at your initial meeting with families and in any post-adoption communications.
- Have a clear term for how long the book can be borrowed. One month is a reasonable amount of time.
- Include a return mailing envelope, postage paid. Write the due date on the outside of the envelope in a red permanent marker.
- Have one person assigned to managing the request and mail the books.
- Your budget should include: approximately 1-2 hours a week of staff time once the library is established, initial cost for stocking the library, annual cost to add to and replace books, shipping cost both to and from the family.
- If you decide to include children’s books as well as adult books, plan on having to replace the children’s books more frequently.
- When deciding on whether to stock your library with hardback or paperback books you need to weigh the cost vs. durability and the extra cost of shipping due to increased weight of hardbacks.
- Ask families to donate books to your lending library. Many families would love a place to donate their gently used books that they no longer want.
- Creating a Family has a comprehensive list of both children’s and adult books for you to consider. https://creatingafamily.org/adoption/adoptionsuggestedbooks/
- Develop a template for follow-up emails to remind families that it is time to return the book. Decide in advance how many times you will remind them. We suggest 2-3 reminders. Plan for some books to be “lost” or not returned; however, most people will honor their agreement and return the books.