Vernal, Utah has a new library. The books are only moving next door, but still, there are a lot of books to move. This being Utah and a town made up largely of Mormons who are used to doing service projects, they naturally called on that force to make the move. Community members, were asked to form a human chain to move the books. They formed lines between the libraries and books were taken right off one shelf, handed from person to person, until it was placed on the new shelf. More than 300 volunteers, mostly Mormons, turned out to participate, some dancing to the music being played as they worked.

Read about the human book chain in Utah

Mormons are noted for the amazing number of hours they volunteer, both inside and outside the church. Many areas organize days of service each year to serve their local communities. When there is a weather disaster, Mormons organize to help everyone—regardless of religion—clean up. They volunteer in large numbers in the Boy Scouts, in their children’s schools, and in local charities. Of course, they also volunteer in their church, but often that church work takes them out into the community, as with the Helping Hands program that handles emergencies and local days of service.

Service within the church is actually benefitting the community, since Church members live in ordinary communities, not in isolated groups. Everyone benefits when children are taught to respect the law or mothers learn better parenting skills. Mormons teach their members to manage their money, get good educations, and make family a priority. When the congregation’s employment specialist teaches someone how to get a job, everyone benefits. The skills taught to accomplish this make their members better community members. Church literacy or ESL programs are open to anyone who wants to attend. In fact, all the classes Mormons teach on Sundays or in their church buildings during the week are open to visitors.

Library service is a natural fit for Mormons looking for service projects. Mormons emphasize the need for education, both formal and informal. Supporting a library makes it easier for people to achieve informal, life-long learning and so it is the sort of project that appeals to Mormons—and it is a very social ones. Mormons love socials!

About Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.

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