‘Tiebrary’ meets a need for neckwear
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David Russell, reference librarian with the DeKalb County Public Library, started a lending “tiebrary” for those in need of neckwear.
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By H.M Cauley
For the AJC
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DeKalb 

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Most patrons of the DeKalb County Public Library in Decatur drop by to borrow books, DVDs, audiobooks and music CDs. But a few leave with a tie.

The “tiebrary” is a free service created by reference librarian David Russell after he made an interesting observation.

“The county courthouse is so close that we often get people in here printing out paperwork,” he said. “One day, this guy came in to do that, and he didn’t have a tie on. I had one in the back, so I offered it to him. He thought it was great.”

When the same situation arose a few weeks later, Russell hit on the idea of lending out ties as a library service.

“I do a lot of programming and am always looking to fill needs,” he said. “There could be a lot of young men going on job interviews who could use a tie. Or maybe they need a tie for prom or a court date.”

Russell, a self-professed tie enthusiast who owns “tons” of them, pulled from his own collection to stock the supply.

“I went through a very productive phase when I was buying ties left and right, so I started offering my own,” he said. “Other people have been happy to donate, too, and I expect more will come if we expand to other [library] branches.”

Russell made the borrowing process simple: No library card is required to check one out, and there’s no return date.

“If they return it, great,” he said. “We’ll have it cleaned and put back in the system.

But really, there’s no need to even return it. I just want to get them in the hands of people who need them.”

Since the tiebrary launched in March, the service has expanded to the Wesley Chapel Road branch, and 10 ties were donated to WorkSource DeKalb, an agency that connects county residents with job opportunities. Russell also plans to establish a tiebrary at the courthouse law library when it reopens to the public post- COVID-19.

And now that winter weather has moved in, Russell has moved beyond ties.

He recently started Warm Up DeKalb, a project to provide new or hand-knitted gloves, scarves, socks and hats to A Home for Everyone, a volunteer organization that helps homeless folks find shelters.

“Their services are provided right across the street from the library, so it works out perfectly,” said Russell. “We’re trying to help out any way we can.”

Information about both programs is online at dekalblibrary.org/branches/deca. 

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