Here is a picture of a soldier opening a box of books.
See the big smile on his face.
The Books for Soldiers program narrowed when we withdrew so many troops from Iraq, but it has recently begun to grow again. We send books to troops all over the world, not just in combat zones. Currently four volunteers are active in this program, and in the calendar year 2014 they sent 89 boxes, containing 85 CD or DVDs and 1002 books. They spent $574 in postage, while we took in $558 in donations. Fortunately we had some money left over from previous years, and we received $247 in donations at the January book sale.
We recently had a request for children’s books from a soldier who explained that some in his unit had the opportunity to read books to their children. These are sometimes recorded on disk and mailed to the children, and sometimes the opportunity is available to skype directly to the child. His unit was stationed in Africa supporting the Ebola crisis efforts there.
Another recent request was “Xxxx requests World War 2 History Books and anything nautical.” A Friends volunteer sent “Auschwitz and the Allies” by Martin Gilbert, “At Dawn We Slept” by Gordon Prange, “The Greatest Generation Speaks” by Tom Brokaw, “Flags of our Fathers” by James Bradley, and several others. Other popular requests are books by Stephen King, James Patterson, Tom Clancy and similar authors. We are very fortunate to have such generous donors that we are able to fill most of them.
Here is another requesting children’s books, quoted from the actual request:
I have a one year old baby girl. Most places have a USO that allows soldiers to read books on video and then mail the books and videos home to their children so they can have reading time with their little ones. My base doesn’t have a USO. I have a smartphone to take the video with but no books. I know this is not the normal request but if anyone has any spare children’s books around I think it would help my husband calm her down before bed each night
We forget that we are sending young women into isolated places also. A Friends volunteer sent this young mother 11 books to read to her little girl. As always, you may check out this program on their website www.booksforsoldiers.com. You cannot access actual requests, per the DOD rules. You can make postage donations at the quarterly book sales, and can ask for more information from Vivian Selecman at Selecman@msn.com.
People who join the Blount County Friends of the Library show their support for literacy and for the library’s many community services. All pay annual dues. Others also volunteer in many capacities such as taking the library outside the brick façade, assisting in Friends-sponsored programs, or working in a book sale capacity. These volunteers typically get totally immersed in the many facets of what the Friends do for the library and are a fascinating group of men and women with a tremendous variety of occupational skills. Some of these volunteers will be featured periodically in your newsletters.