Iowa City Public Library sets teens up for success through ‘Free Closet’

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:03 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Teen Little Free Closet at the Iowa City Public Library is made up of a selection of donated clothes that younger people in the community can use. But it’s a more narrowed down selection than you might find at any local pantry or thrift store. The selection consists of button down shirts, blazers, tailored dresses.

Candice Smith has donated several items to Teen Little Free Closet since it first started. As with many donors, she has carefully selected items from her closet that would be good to wear to a job interview, a professional internship, or even just an important event.

“I think that’s where some of us could come in with supplying some of those things that young people wouldn’t be able to go out and get,” said Smith.

While it’s open and available to anyone, the ‘closet’ is mainly for teenagers in the area who might not have the opportunity to get the appropriate outfit for a certain occasion or event.

Victoria Fernandez with Iowa City Public Library, says she got the idea after interacting with the many different children who come through the teen center.

“We help with resume and so we see teens in that job prospective process,” said Fernandez. “We just heard that some of them didn’t have the right pants, or didn’t have the right shirt, and we knew this community would be responsive to that.”

She adds that they try to be intentional with the type of clothes they bring in.

Teens can exchange some of their items for others within the closet, or they can browse and take what they need without needing to exchange.

To further their service, they ask those in need a specific item to fill out these note cards.

“If kids need a certain size of pants, then we will try and reach out. If kids need a button-up shirt, then we’ll try to reach out about that too,” said Fernandez.

Several teenaged interns also actively work on this project. Fernandez says they help in getting the word out to the younger population.

The closet is currently available on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, click here.