Here's the sort of "feel good" story that you wish the world was filled with more of.  A public library on the Iron Range makes their collection of prom dresses available for check out to patrons free of charge with their library card.

The prom dresses are available at the Gilbert Public Library and the program has been around for about ten years.

And it's not just one or two dresses.  Over that decade since the program started, the Gilbert Public Library has amassed a collection of "well over 150 dresses in every color and size" - according to an article in the Mesabi Tribune.

In advance of this years' prom season, the Gilbert Public Library has even been advertising the resource on their Facebook page:

To access the collection, all the library asks is that the person calls ahead to schedule an appointment. That call is important, according to Gilbert Public Library Director Susan Dabbas:

"Appointments are made so that the young women can come and pick out the dress that catches their eye. The dresses and dressing room is downstairs and we make appointments so that we have someone to cover in the library and one to help with the dresses. We encourage borrowers to make the appointment with plenty of time to choose the perfect gown or not to give themselves the opportunity to find what they want elsewhere.  [A pre-arranged appointment] also gives ample opportunities to use the dress, clean it, and return it in a time frame that is convenient."

Let's face it - prom dresses are expensive; it's nothing for a prom goer to spend $300, $400, $500 or more on a dress that will usually see one wearing and then get tucked away into a closet.

Portrait of Girls at a High School Prom
Digital Vision.

It's those "tucked away" dresses that have been building the library's collection over the years.  Community members have been donating their old prom dresses to the library.  Dabbas says "We always answer yes "if" the dresses are clean and in mint condition".

Library staff is quick to note, also that the occasion for checking out the dresses from their collection doesn't have to be just a prom.  Dances, weddings, parties, or "just a great evening" are also acceptable reasons.

prom wedding couple corsage
Susan Prentice

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