Read Local – Share Global

Our family has many Christmas traditions, but a favorite is adopting, anonymously, a family in need. For several months we would plan what would make wonderful personalized gifts, what could be made, what could be reused, what we could include for the holiday feast and especially what books would be selected to share. I think from the age of five I have had the desire to share good books: You must read this!
For several decades I continued this tradition, with local families in Scotland and Minnesota from Oxfam, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, the Women’s shelter or church organizations. Some years the need is immediate, for example Katrina, Haiti, Sarajevo and now New Zealand and Japan. The heartfelt note from the Katrina family thanking me for the cookbooks, the children’s books, the fix-it-up, do-it-yourself manuals, the romance, the travel guides, etc., found me filling another box to help replace and restore their love of books, their pleasure in reading. Nearly all of the books have been purchased from the Friends of the Library Bookstore. This is truly a treasure trove of quality reading material at incredible prices. Quite a few books have been purchased in the Friends Book Sales or Rochesterfest Booksale where the selection is eclectic and extremely affordable.
Last year, knowing how involved I have become with the Library and the Friends’ Bookstore, a friend asked me if I could help her send children’s books to American Samoa, where her son has been stationed as part of the Americorp program. The school children of Vatia at Mt Alava Elementary had so few books that nearly anything would be welcome. It is astonishing how many books you can pack into a flat rate U.S. Postal mailing box! Two boxes went winging across the Pacific, and a third was transported by the visiting parents. Subject matter ranged from primers and picture dictionaries to chapter books, history books and children’s classics. I really had no idea what they would need or want so sent a wide selection requesting additional information on what they most needed.
The response has been overwhelming. A Christmas card from their teacher Leslie Blaich arrived thanking us for the donation: “Talofa! Wow. Fa afetai tele” These books now form the school’s library. The children are absolutely delighted with each and every book. Each of the six children in this classroom have personally written a wonderful thank you note that is a pleasure to share with the Rochester community. These books were donated to the Library, as duplicates they became available for sale in our Bookstore in mint condition (where the proceeds would directly return to the Library) for a family or an organization to benefit from them. That this should be half way around the globe is one of the miracles of our modern day world.
I remain an avid user of our Rochester Public Library and the Friends Bookstore.

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