The internet is littered with advice columns on how to look your best during a job interview—and for men dressing to impress, this usually includes wearing a tie. But what happens when a cash-strapped guy doesn’t have the funds to purchase the necessary neckwear?
If that job seeker is in Philadelphia, all he needs to do is take a trip to the “tiebrary,” a tie-lending initiative started in March at the Paschalville Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The 48 ties in the tiebrary’s collection include conservative colors and patterns as well as more brightly hued, trendy cravats and can be checked out for up to three weeks by anyone with a library card.
…branch manager Jennifer Walker told TakePart that many of the 30,000 mostly black and Asian American residents in the Paschalville Branch’s service area face numerous challenges. “The unemployment rate is 18.5 percent. As for education attainment, 25 percent of the working-age population has less than a high school diploma, and another 39 percent has not progressed past a high school diploma. The poverty level is 34 percent,” she said. About 25 percent of the population are also relatively recent immigrants from African nations or from Vietnam, she said.
Getting those community members prepared to enter the workforce is one of the library system’s main priorities. So last year, when [Nate] Eddy [a lifelong librarian and the strategy coordinator for the Free Library of Philadelphia] was on a visit to the Queens Public Library in New York City and heard about a small tiebrary operating there, he was intrigued. A tie-browsing session on Amazon earlier this year spurred him to expand the concept to Philadelphia. “I reached out to Queens to see if they wouldn’t mind us replicating the idea. They said, ‘Go for it,’ ” he said.
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