Swap till you drop!

As part of Moreton Bay Regional libraries’ new approach to engage its broader community, Arana Hills Library recently held its second annual clothing swap. This is a great example of the Realising our potential: A vision for Queensland public libraries enabler, Our Place in the Public Realm.

Our Inaugural Swap aligned with Recycling Week where we encouraged our community to donate and contribute to the circular economy to divert clothes from landfill.

Clothing Swap Token
Clothing Swap Token

In our second event we focused on spring cleaning. The clothing swap was for women of all sizes and the donated clothes were exchanged for tokens which were capped at ten per person. We advertised the event through local newspapers, Facebook, through library displays and word of mouth. This event relied on our staff, volunteers, Council and our community. Participants were able to drop off the clothes in advance which allowed our volunteers to quality control the donations and to sort items by size and type i.e. dresses, pants, shirts etc.

We borrowed hangers and racks from supportive local businesses, and Council’s Building and Facilities team picked them up. The day before the event we sent out a last-minute text to participants. To boost library memberships, members were allowed access to swap 30 mins earlier than the general public – as result many participants joined to have their pick of the crop!

A palpable sense of excitement was felt on the day as new mums and seniors alike were thrilled for the chance to revamp their wardrobes. Overall it was exhausting but fulfilling and I especially enjoyed the feedback from a new mum who was delighted to drop off her maternity gear and to swap it for something more form fitting.

After the event we donated our leftover items to charities close to our hearts. If you are considering holding a swap I would highly recommend quality control – as good condition and clean are interpreted differently! Arana Hills Library clothes swap was a great success and an example of becoming active players in our communities and supporting cross Council waste reduction … and I can’t wait to do this all again next year!

About the author
Cidalisa Garcia is a Library Officer at Moreton Bay Region Libraries.