JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Patrons and staff members of the Campbell Memorial Library at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston have come up with a creative way to promote kindness.
The library has put together a quilt consisting of images and illustrations on kindness created by library users, primarily military families and library staff members. Named the Community of Kindness Quilt, the 60 square-foot quilt was dedicated at the Campbell Memorial Library Oct. 14.
Measuring 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide, the Community of Kindness Quilt consists of 16 interlocking foam squares of images and illustrations. Library patrons and staff members drew, painted, used construction paper or whatever materials they could utilize in creating their images, illustrations or words on what kindness means to them on 2-foot by 2-foot foam squares provided by the library.
Darrell Hankins, Campbell Memorial Library supervisory librarian, said 17 library patrons and nine staff members contributed images and illustrations for the quilt.
Hankins said the idea and name for the quilt came about during a library staff meeting this summer on community outreach and how to keep library patrons engaged during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The big reason we did it was, we wanted to ensure connectivity with the community because of the fact we had been open a short period and then we closed again because of COVID-19,” Hankins said. “We wanted to have a way to remain connected to our community because we didn’t want people to think we had forgotten about them.”
The library set out the foam squares, which had been donated to the library by a patron earlier this year, on carts in front of the library as part of its no-contact services from late July to early August. Patrons took the foam squares, decorated them in their homes, then returned them to the carts at the library.
Hankins said he was impressed by the quality of the images and illustrations submitted by library patrons, military families and library staff members.
“They took some time to definitely put their heart and passion into what they were doing,” he said. “The artwork is really nice.”
In addition, Hankins said the quilt project brought members of the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston community together for a purpose – spreading the word about kindness.
“Everybody was very excited to do it and thought it was an awesome opportunity, and really a good thing for the library to put out there at a time like this,” Hankins said. “It definitely lifted the staff members as well, just as much as it was a boost for the morale of the community.
“When you put a request out there, and your patrons take the time out of their day to create this representation, it really comes back to recognizing you are having an impact. People are willing to contribute to the library’s function as a place to have these type of engagements on a personal level with the community,” Hankins said.
Hankins said library patrons who have not returned their foam squares can still create their images and return them to the library to be added to the quilt.
Plans are for the Community of Kindness Quilt to be placed on a wall near the front entrance of the library.
When the quilt is put up, Hankins said he wants it to be a reminder to patrons who will walk by it daily on the importance of being kind.
“I just think at the end of the day, it’s all about just creating an awareness for people to remember to be kind,” Hankins said. “No matter where you’re at, kindness starts in your own community and spreads like ripples in a pond. A single act of kindness can definitely mean the difference between good things happening and bad things happening.”