JCPL Column: Find your free prom outfit at the library

Because attending prom is more expensive than ever, some teens don’t attend and miss the experience.

We hope to put the fun back into prom for teens by alleviating some of the prom expenses with no-cost formal wear at Johnson County Public Library’s Project Prom.

Project Prom is an annual event that provides teens with free dresses, suits, shoes and accessories. Teens who need formal wear may browse and choose one outfit and one accessory. We have a large selection of new and gently-used dresses — more than 800 — in many sizes, lengths and styles. We also have the perfect finishing touches for any outfit — jewelry, vests, ties — so teens can find everything they need to look their best in one place.

This year, the library is excited to partner with local businesses to offer additional services to make prom even more special for a few teens. When they visit Project Prom, teens may enter the drawings to win gift cards from local florists JP Parker Flowers and Bud and Bloom for a corsage or boutonnière. Also, pick up a coupon for Art’s Cleaners, located in downtown Franklin, for a discount on a professional cleaning service.

Since the program’s inception nearly 10 years ago, we have helped thousands of teens find the perfect outfit to wear to their prom. Our program continues to grow, thanks to gently-used donations from our library patrons and new formal wear from bridal and prom shops in the community. Do you have formal wear items you’d like to donate? We accept donations all year at any JCPL Branch.

Part of JCPL’s mission is to strengthen our community by connecting people, resources and experiences. Project Prom is one special way the Library is making a lasting impact on local teens by helping them overcome the financial burden of finding a great outfit for their special night. In 2022, we gave away 247 dresses and 42 suits. We hope to see even more teens find their perfect outfits this year and in the future.

Project Prom will be held in the barn behind the Franklin Branch Library, 401 State St., Franklin, on March 25 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and March 26 from 1-4 p.m. All formal wear is free; you do not need to have a library card to attend.

For more information about the program, visit

Josephine Whitaker is a programming assistant at the Johnson County Public Library’s White River Branch. JCPL staff members share in writing this twice-monthly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].