Today we’d like to introduce you to Joey Carbone.
Hi Joey, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
The MP Mini Library Mission started with the idea to spread the love of reading and knowledge and giving more access to literature. My wife is a teacher who loves to read; she asked me to build a small library for our front yard where neighbors could “take a book, share a book.” After this mini library was installed, I saw that not only my kids loved the novelty of it, but the neighbors who visited really enjoyed it as well. Soon, I was receiving requests from so many people on Facebook to build more mini-libraries. Since I knew it was a great way to get kids more interested in reading, I refused to charge people for time, labor, or materials… I simply asked our neighbors on Facebook if they had any spare wood, nails, roofing shingles, or any other materials that would help build the mini-libraries. Overwhelmed with offers for building materials and even neighbors offering their time and help to volunteer, I knew we started something great in Mount Prospect.
I built the first mini library in June of 2019, MP Mini Library Mission became an official “Not for Profit” organization in January of 2020, and as of September of 2022, we have 85 mini-libraries in Mount Prospect and the surrounding areas with the number of mini-libraries still growing.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
At the start of the COVID pandemic, our mini libraries became even more popular because it was a way to get out, social distance, and stay safe. At this time, I saw how difficult it was for some of our neighbors to go grocery shopping. I thought that we could help our community even more by turning our “mini libraries” into “mini pantries.” During these difficult times, the majority of our mini library custodians stocked their libraries with canned goods, non-perishable foods, toiletries, hand sanitizer, and many other items that could help others who were having a hard time. These items were available to anyone who needed a little help with no questions asked. This was a great way for the community to stay connected and lend neighbors a helping hand in the midst of the global pandemic.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands. Starting the MP Mini Library Mission has given me the opportunity to spread that joy to my children. I’ve been able to share my experience and teach them so much about woodworking, art, painting, and philanthropy.
Every one of our mini-libraries is personalized and painted to reflect each family’s personality or likes. Whether they wanted a garden-themed mini library with flowers and butteries, a sports theme, a fantasy theme, or a mini library that looks exactly like their house, we take our time to make it perfect for the homeowners.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I could not have done this without some extremely generous and kind-hearted neighbors. Jaime Rische, Ronak McFadden, Kari, Sergio, Mel, and Rey Trejo, Jen Carbone, Nancy and Tom Bussan, and many others. We have an amazing group of consistent volunteers that help cut wood, paint, and even dig holes to install the mini-libraries. Through the MP Mini Library Mission, I’ve met so many wonderful people in our community and even gained lifelong friends.