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A library in southwest Philadelphia is doling out more than books. In an effort to help job seekers make a good impression on their would-be employers, the Paschalville Branch Library has been loaning out ties for three weeks at a time, at no cost whatsoever. Nate Eddy, strategy coordinator for the Philadelphia Free Library, came up with the so-called “tiebrary” after spying a similar setup during a tour of the Queens Public Library in New York City last year. “I’m not a tie aficionado,” Eddy told Billy Penn, “but I do know wearing a nice tie can add a lot of confidence.”

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TIEBRARY

But unlike the Queens branch, which keeps the ties out of sight, Paschalville makes its selections available for browsing. They’re displayed in repurposed clear plastic VHS cases, which are secured with standard library locks to prevent sticky fingers.

The ties are situated next to the library’s “Job Readiness Center,” which includes computers, employment counseling, and employment resources. Launched in 2006, the services are designed to help mitigate the local community’s historically high unemployment rates.

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“People like to say the internet will be the downfall of books, and hence the downfall of libraries,” Eddy said. “But we’re much more than that. We are community centers.”

The “tiebrary” features a wide variety of styles for patrons to choose from, including solid colors, polka dots, plaids, and stripes.

Any of them can be yours for the borrowing. All you need is a library card.

+ Paschalville Branch Library