Last week those able and willing to give blood showed up at the Windham Public Library for the first blood drive ever to be held there. When asked why now, what was the catalyst, library director Jen Alvino said, “I was in Orlando, Florida for a National Library conference two weeks after the tragic shootings that took place at Pulse nightclub and how they were coping. It just got me thinking about how we (the library) are so much more than books. We are about community.”
Upon her return she was discussing her trip with fellow employees and introduced the subject of a having a blood drive. Her mind set, the ball began rolling.
“While attending a donor drive at Falmouth Memorial Library I ran into a patron of the Windham Library who happens to work for the Red Cross,” said children’s librarian Laurel Parker, a 45 year blood donor. “The suggestion to contact Red Cross donor recruitment account manager Paul Flannigan was made and the date was solidified. The Windham Library was ready to reach out to the community.
“We are very fortunate to have this library. It has an exceptional staff that is dedicated, caring, knowledgeable and friendly to patrons,” said Sherry Andre, a Windham Library volunteer who checked in donors the day of the event.
As for the success of the drive, “While no real goal was set, the turnout was positive with 24 donors. Five of these were walk-ins and there were only two no-shows. At least half of those took advantage of Rapid Pass,” Andre said. “This drive is fitting here because a library is the heart of a community.”
Introduced in March of this year, Rapid Pass has allowed donating blood to become more convenient for those with stringent schedules. This is accomplished by starting the process before leaving home or work through the completion of an online pre-donation and health history to allow donors the opportunity to avoid that arduous task of completing the lengthy questionnaire upon arrival. According to the Red Cross website this ultimately saves approximately 15 minutes. There is one caveat however, the Rapid Pass option must be completed no earlier than 3 a.m. the day of the donation.
When asked if there be other drives held at the library, Alvino said, “we’ll see how this one goes. If successful I would definitely do this again. The partnership seems only natural. The benefits of giving are huge and that’s what’s really important.”
For more information on Rapid Pass or to donate, visit www.redcrossblood.org