Share Tompkins

Share Tompkins helps folks share and trade goods and services in Tompkins County, NY.

Archive for the category “Resources”

Teresa and Jeremy Installed a Little Free Library!

Teresa and Jeremy, active participants in the Share Tompkins community, just installed a “Little Free Library” in front of their house! It’s an awesome way to share books with your neighbors. Here’s what Teresa has to say…

Little Free Libraries

The Little Free Libraries were started in Wisconsin in late 2010 as a way of promoting literacy and community through the use of small, publically accessible book exchanges. When my husband and I recently went back to Wisconsin for a friend’s wedding, we found ourselves charmed by the variety and number of Little Free Libraries in our old neighborhood, and decided to bring a little of that magic back to Ithaca with us.

Building

We spent some time thinking about how to build a weathertight yet accessible little box, but after looking at the plans available at their website and considering our meager construction skill, we decided to buy one made from recycled materials. However, someone with more time and ability than me could certainly put one together in a weekend or two from any combination of found, recycled, or purchased materials. Most of the ones we’ve seen are about the size of a small laundry basket, with a door to keep out the elements. One of the cleverer designs I’ve seen is actually the next-nearest Library – a repurposed phone kiosk just outside Syracuse University’s Library and Information Science department. Photo here

Location

We live on a busy street with a fair amount of foot, car, and bike
traffic, so we didn’t need to look farther than our own front yard. But other libraries are located in a wide variety of public and private places – outside of businesses, homes, and schools.

Books

We’re book fiends, and always have a stack of books to be passed along to other readers. Our Little Library is new, but I hope that it will become a neighborhood resource for exchanging beloved titles.

If you’d like to browse the Library and trade some books, or if you want a library of your own and want to see it in person, please stop by 1039 Hanshaw Rd. to check it out!

Swap Stories: Lessons from organizing a home yarn swap

Considering organizing a swap but not sure how to do it? Teresa Porri, pictured above in a sweater she knitted, shares her experiences with organizing yarn swaps at her home.

I was inspired enough by the set up of Share Tompkins that I decided to host an occasional swap of my own with a very specific focus: fiber arts. People who are not interested in working with string may not be aware of this, but Ithaca has dozens if not hundreds of talented spinners, knitters, crocheters, and lacemakers. I happen to know a bunch of them, and I happen to know that this is a group that often has big plans that don’t pan out, so we often end up with extra materials.

I thought that I would put together a post in case anyone else is considering a similar kind of swap focusing on a very specific sub-group. (I could see this working well as, say, a seed/plant swap, or with art supplies, or for homeschoolers – any group that ends up collecting a lot of lightly-used stuff of roughly comparable value.)

I invited people by personal email, by mentioning it in person at one of the craft get-togethers I participate in, and through the Ithaca message board on Ravelry.com (a huge online fiber arts community.)

About 10 people have showed up when I host this, and this seems like a good number. I think larger numbers work well for more general swaps because you never know what someone will bring or be interested in, but for a more specific trading environment, keeping it a little smaller is fine. It’s usually ended up being a good mix of huge and tiny stashes, larger and smaller pocketbooks, more and less
experienced knitters.

I set up my dining room table on one side of a room with as many leaves as it holds, then had chairs in a circle next to it for people who wanted to socialize, knit, and eat. The most recent time I hosted the yarn swap, I put a laundry basket to one side with a “FREE” sign on it.

One thing I worried about the first time I arranged one of these swaps was whether people would be trying too hard for a 1-to-1 trade, but after the first person said “Eh, you can keep it,” the whole room really opened up. The presence of the
Freebie basket” helped this happen more quickly the second time I had a swap. Everyone passed along whatever generosity came their way; as far as I could tell, everyone went away happy. This is something I’ve found at Share Tompkins before; the presence of generosity in others makes everyone feel more generous. I still have a huge bucket of freebie yarn in my house that people didn’t want to bring home with them. It is going to be distributed in a few different ways – I’ll be bringing some of it to the next Really Really Free Market, some to Sew Green, and some will go to charity. (If you have a charity project that you need yarn for, feel free to contact me at tjporri@gmail.)

One problem, though: I always seriously underestimate the amount of yarn that shows up. Some people make multiple trips to carry it all. The table overflows onto the floor, where bag and Rubbermaid tubs full of yarn sit ready to go. Having each person keep their yarn near them is easier organizationally, but having a communal pile seems more inviting. Some people carefully label skeins, but most people use the “hold up a skein and holler that they like it until its owner shows up” method of identification. Having one or two people who bring a TON of yarn also seems to serve as a social lubricant. It’s partly that generosity thing again – the person who brings a ton of yarn usually doesn’t want to bring it back home! But it’s also really fun to mix and match and daydream with like-minded folks.

Having a computer handy was useful; there were occasional checks on Ravelry or yarn sellers to find out the fiber content of something, or the retail price, or to remind someone what weight yarn they needed for that gorgeous scarf pattern that they’d seen recently.

One great side effect of this kind of trading environment is that it seems to be a great stimulant for creativity. People talk about what they had in mind when they bought the yarn, people hold two very different colors together and try to figure out how to mix them together. One person describes a pattern they saw, and two weeks later you’ll see someone else knitting it with yarn they got at the swap. I’m knitting baby toys and a sweater for my niece who will be arriving this summer from swap yarn, and my head is chock-full of plans I didn’t have before.

If you’ve had an idle thought about doing something like this, I really encourage you to try it. I’ve had great fun with it and will definitely hold more yarn swaps in the future.

Share Tompkins featured in The Center for a New American Dream’s “Guide to Sharing”

The Center for a New American Dream “helps Americans to reduce and shift their consumption to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and promote social justice.” Sounds like a great mission to us!

They have collaborated with one of our favorite sites, Shareable.net, to create a free PDF “Guide to Sharing” that you can download from their site. The guide is full of great tips and resources and even includes a couple of shout-outs to Share Tompkins on page 2.

VIDEO: Visualizing a Plenitude Economy

By Center for a New American Dream

VIDEO: Collaborative Consumption

Via Swidjit

I’ve got something you want: Share Tompkins Open House

On 
Saturday, November 19th, 2-4pm, join us at the Worker’s Center for an open house / Ithaca Freeskool class all about Share Tompkins!

Share Tompkins (a local mutual aid network formed in May 2009) wants to share what we’ve learned so far! Come talk with us about free local resources, how to trade goods and services equitably, and how bartering can help us save money and make connections.

Hosted by Tompkins County Workers’ Center, 115 MLK St., above Autumn Leaves on the Commons.

Facilitators: Marina, Danny and Ari – ari@shirari.com, 607.821.0654

More info:
http://sharetompkins.wordpress.com

This class is a free Ithaca Freeskool class!
http://ithacafreeskool.wordpress.com/

Click here to RSVP on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197900600285373

Meeting Basic Needs – Capitalism vs. Cooperation

In the spirit of Liza’s recent post on the benefits of swapping, here’s a handy graphic by Ari comparing systems. While it’s impossible to fully extricate ourselves from capitalism while living in the USA, we are actively building cooperative alternatives that empower us as individuals and as a community.

Sept 25: Community Shred Day

Community Shred Day
Saturday, September 25, 2010 9am-Noon
East Hill Plaza parking lot opposite Tompkins Trust Company

“Bring your old personal documents and computer equipment to us! We’ll shred your confidential records safely and securely. All paper must be clean, dry and ready to shred, free from staples and spiral binders. Please limit your recyclables to 6 boxes. We accept computer related and home electronic equipment. Limit 5 per person. Please, no cracked CRT or LCD monitors, copy machines or non-working TVs. We reserve the right to refuse anything we deem inappropriate. This service is open to households only, no commercial businesses.

Brought to you by Tompkins Trust Company and Cayuga Radio Group. Join us for activities provided by Tompkins County Solid Waste; refreshments and fun!”

The Advocacy Center: “support, advocacy and education for survivors of domestic violence since 1977″

Another local organization has been added to our Resources guide: The Advocacy Center. In addition to running a 24-hour hotline for survivors of domestic violence, (607) 277-5000, they offer other services including crisis intervention, shelter and support, legal advocacy, examinations, and referrals.

If you know of other resources that should be listed in the guide, please tell us about them.

Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties, New York

I didn’t know that there was a local Habitat for Humanity until I saw a volunteering brochure at Greenstar Coop. We’ve just added them to the Resources guide’s Housing section.

About their services they write,

Habitat is a hand-up, not a hand-out for low-income families in need of an affordable, decent home. Partner families commit 500 hours of “sweat equity” working on their own home, the homes of others, and attaining skills needed for self-sufficiency and responsible homeownership. Families also repay a modest no-profit, no-interest loan with affordable monthly payments. Payments go into a revolving fund to build homes for more families in Tompkins and Cortland Counties. (Read more)

They’re looking for volunteers right now, if anyone out there wants to help create affordable housing in a truly hands-on way. Has anyone reading this had an experience working with Habitat for Humanity, building homes cooperatively, barnraising, or the like? Please post a comment!

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