Matt DeLaney
What if, in addition to loaning books, we started lending outdoor gear? (Photo: Aislinn Sarnacki/Bangor Daily News)

Forces of Good: The Gearhead Librarian Who Revived a Town

Matt DeLaney

When you think of heroes in American culture, you probably conjure images of astronauts and Olympians, scientists and social activists, soldiers and … well, maybe the occasional politician. What you don’t picture are a group of dedicated, ingenious innovators who almost never get the credit they deserve: small-town librarians. Working with limited resources and a whole lot of spirit, they find the most creative ways to support their communities. In this installment of our Forces of Good series, we present the story of a very enterprising librarian who came to a struggling town in Maine and took action on a novel idea: What if, in addition to loaning books, we started lending outdoor gear?

This episode was brought to you by Hydro Flask, a company that believes every adventure starts with two simple words: let’s go! Shop Hydro Flask products for yourself or the outdoor lovers on your holiday list this season at

Follow the Outside Podcast

Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, and have since expanded our show to offer a range of story formats, including reports from our correspondents in the field and interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and the outdoors.