Project Buggy Buddy is the newest effort from the Summers County Library to aid residents. The goal of this project is to provide a fleet of collapsible wagon “buggies” that can be checked out the same way a book is checked out. Then, citizens can use the wagons to haul groceries when walking home rather than taking a shopping cart from the store.
This project was announced after a social media post from the Hinton Police Department stating, “No! To abandoned shopping carts.” The post is in regards to the shopping carts that can often be seen left in various places throughout the city. Allegedly, people take the carts from stores so that they can get their groceries home when walking. However, instead of being returned to the store, they are left on curbs, in alleys or on lawns such as that of the Hinton Area Elementary School.
The post goes on to say, “There is a City-wide effort to clean-up our community; we live here; we work here; we have visitors, guests, tourists and former residents who return to enjoy our quaintness, our natural beauty, our restaurants and shops.” The statement ends by encouraging citizens to “work together to continue our efforts of improvement within our community.”
Unfortunately, this is more than a simple issue of the city’s appearance. This becomes a legal issue under West Virginia Code Chapter 61, Article 3A (which defines shoplifting), states that the action is unlawful. Section (6) in the list of what constitutes shoplifting reads, “Removes a shopping cart from the premises of the mercantile establishment.” At the end of the Hinton Police Department’s social media posts, it states, “We do not want to enforce a law that can simply be enforced by good citizens and their responsible actions.”
This is where the library’s project comes into play. Austin Persinger, the Library Director, commented on the Hinton Police Department’s post stating, “Just a reminder that the Summers County Public Library is in the business of providing information, serving the public and solving problems.” In this comment as well as a post made from the official library Facebook page, Persinger goes on to say, “We are also experts at loaning materials to the people in our community. When people think library they think books, but we like to think that we offer so much more.”
Persinger goes on to describe the “buggy buddy” project. According to this, the library is now accepting donations for the purchase of collapsible folding wagons. He states, “These are lighter, have better wheels, and are more suited for the journey up and down the hill from Avis.”
The wagons range in price from $60 to $100 each. The library’s initial fundraising goal is $1200 to get the program off of the ground. They plan on starting with a fleet of 10 wagons. Donations can be made in three ways. They can be sent via PayPal, dropped off at the library or mailed to 201 Temple Street, Hinton WV, 25951. The link to donate through PayPal is on the library’s website summers.lib.wv.us as well as the Facebook page Summers County Public Library. If donating through PayPal, the library asks that you use the memo section to note that the funds are for Project Buggy Buddy.
Residents have been incredibly divided in the comments of the original post from the Hinton Police Department. Some citizens feel that the carts are an issue stemming from a lack of respect. Others think it stems from a larger issue. According to some it could be related to drug use while others remark that the issue is a lack of public transportation as well as delivery services.
For more information on the library’s Buggy Buddy Project, call the library between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 304-466-4490. For more information on the legalities of removing shopping carts from store property, contact the Hinton Police Department at 304-466-4657