Groceries Delivered to the Library

I am way into this program from the Baltimore City Health Department and the Enoch Free Public Library:

On a bright spring morning in Baltimore, retiree Gwen Tates goes over her weekly grocery list — oatmeal, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, pea soup. But it’s where she’s shopping that might surprise you: at the public library.

Under a new city program, patrons can order groceries online and pay with cash, credit or food stamps. The orders are filled by Santoni’s supermarket, a longtime Baltimore grocer. They deliver the items to the library the next day. Tates says she loves the convenience.

“I pay with my charge card. They swipe it right here. I come back to the library tomorrow and they’ll have it all bagged up and ready to go,” she says.


Libraries can become so much more than content mausoleums by facilitating a suite of useful community services. I do worry a bit about feature creep, however. More about this in a forthcoming post about the Garage Library in Malmö.

3 thoughts on “Groceries Delivered to the Library”

  1. Interesting. I’d like to see it go the other way as well – for people to be able to pick up books they’ve reserved at places other than library branches (i.e. grocery stores, cafes). I know there are bookmobiles, but that’s not for everyone. Esp as my public library has cut hours significantly, it would be great to reimagine the “branch” as a much more flexible status that could be conferred on many kinds of community institutions.

  2. There’s a group in Portland doing some fascinating work with mapping where essential services are clustered or absent in a community, and this sounds like the perfect application of that kind of research, to bring services into areas that can’t necessarily attract the businesses or social services, etc. that they need. Is it feature creep, or is it broadening the conversation about community living space or center in a new (needed) direction? And possibly bringing people into the library who might not otherwise come there.

  3. Greetings from the Los Angeles Public Library. Good to see another librarian who is into rock climbing, mountain biking, and playing hard. “content mausoleums…” LOL, sad but true in too many cases. Keep up the innovative work, your doing good things for our profession.

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