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Longmont Public Library opens pop-up shop in time for prom

The library took in donations of dresses, jewelry, purses and more. This Sunday, teens can take home everything for free.

LONGMONT, Colo. — When it comes to dresses, Stephanie Sterling knows enough about style to point you in the right direction.

"Ooh, this is pretty," Sterling said, grabbing a strapless purple dress from a box. “We have all kinds of things. There’s something for everybody, for sure.”

Sterling sorted through the box of formalwear stored inside a room at the Longmont Public Library. She likes fashion, but she's more of an expert on fiction. She's a librarian in the children's and teens' section at the library.

In early 2020, Sterling and fellow librarians brainstormed an idea to help teens in the Longmont community. They collected donations of formalwear in hopes of setting up a pop-up shop in time for prom season.

"We got all ramped up about it, and then COVID shut us down," Sterling said.

The library hung onto the donated dresses and decided to unbox them this year.

"We didn’t want to get rid of them, so we kept them and kept them and just waited until we could make it happen," Sterling said. "So, it’s happening.”

This Sunday, the Longmont Public Library plans to open the pop-up shop inside its teen room. It'll be like a boutique surrounded by bookshelves, and all the formalwear will be free.

“It’s important that everybody have access to a beautiful clothing item that makes them feel good for their events," Sterling said.

The library collected dozens of dresses for all shapes and sizes. The pop-up shop will be open to teens on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

Sterling hopes all the dresses displayed at the library will be checked out for good.

“Hopefully, this puts dresses in the hands of people who want them rather than hanging idle somewhere," Sterling said. "I think it’s a win-win.”

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