Football is not the only local rivalry going on this month in Pinson and Clay. Last week, Pinson Public Library challenged Clay Public Library to a “friendly” competition to see who could collect the most non-perishable goods during the Jefferson County Library Cooperative’s “Food for Fines” campaign through the month of September.
According to a JCLC press release, “Forty public libraries in Jefferson County will participate in the fifth annual ‘Food for Fines,’ a drive held in September that allows patrons to pay off up to toward their library fines with donated canned or boxed foods. One dollar in fines will be waived for each item of donated food. The waived fees apply to fines only. The food drive is open to anyone, even if they do not have overdue materials. Expiration dates on foods must be visible on all donated food.”
“Hey Facebook Friends,” she posted on the Clay Public Library Facebook page. “The Pinson Public Library has challenged us (you) to a competition. During this month’s Food for Fines campaign, they think they can collect more non-perishable food items than us. I say…Pinson Public Library – BRING IT ON.”
Pinson Public Library Director April Wallace said that Keith Eggleston, a Pinson Library employee, came up with the idea.
“He thought it would be fun to play up the Clay/Pinson rivalry, especially since football season just started,” Wallace said.
Moody also compared the competition to a friendly football rivalry.
“I think it’s fun, especially during football season,” she said. “Competition is fun and there’s just all these rivalries
. It’s not that Pinson is necessarily a rival of ours, but it is a fun rivalry. I’m curious to see how it turns out. Hopefully, it will bring in more canned goods for both communities.”
JCLC started Foods for Fines in 2008 and has continued the campaign annually. The event lasts from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30.
“To my knowledge I am not aware of any of the other libraries in the Jefferson County Library Cooperative ‘competing,’” Wallace said.
The two libraries have agreed to post weekly updates on their food count every Friday on Facebook. As of 2 p.m. last Friday, Pinson had posted that they had 36 items and Clay posted that they had 30 items.
However, just minutes later, Clay posted again that a patron had dropped off five more items, bringing their total for last week to 35. Moody said that she received more items Monday morning, but had not counted them yet.
“I think it will be a close competition,” Wallace said.
The libraries are only competing for bragging rights, and the donated items will go to the venue of each library’s’ choice.
“Each library decides where their donations will go,” Moody said. “We have selected the food pantry at Clay United Methodist Church.”
Pinson will be giving their donations to the food pantry at Solid Rock Church in Pinson.
Wallace said that Pinson Public Library had originally set a goal of collecting 300 items.
“(It) was an ambitious goal for a library our size,” she said. “But now that we are getting the word out more, I think we can do better than that.”
Moody said that the Clay Public Library did not have a set goal.
“The more the better,” she said.
Both library directors said that they would consider revisiting the competition annually.
“I think that would be wonderful if Clay was up for continuing it and making it a tradition,” Wallace said.
Moody commented, “We can see how it goes. As far as I’m concerned, it seems like a good idea.”
To keep up with the competition, search ‘Clay Public Library’ and ‘Pinson Public Library’ on Facebook and check each Friday
These items will not be accepted: dented cans, rusted cans, damaged items, open packages, packages with expired dates and homemade food.
“It is a win-win situation,” Wallace said. “Not only do the library patrons get their fines paid off, the community benefits, too.
Wallace also said that “Food for Fines” is held in conjunction with the annual “National Library Card Sign-up Month.”
“In September, cardholders can trade in their old wallet library card for a key-chain library card during the sign-up campaign,” she said. “Or, they can replace their worn out card with a free replacement card. Any other time, a replacement card would be $3.”