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C.O.W.’s 21st annual Booksgiving focuses on giving back

Waverly Hart

Managing Editor

Throughout November, students might have noticed boxes of books hanging out by the circulation desks in the Andrews and Timken Libraries. The boxes are part of an initiative that provides books to underprivileged children during the holiday season. 

For the past 20 years, The College of Wooster Libraries has organized this children’s book drive for the holidays. The books they collect are donated towards People to People Ministries, who then gift the books to children in need. 

Irene Herold, librarian of the College, described the initiative as “an important service project that the library participates in for the greater Wooster community.”  

Now in its 21st year, the drive, which has become a tradition for the College Libraries, has taken a slightly different, more inclusive form, known as Booksgiving.

“For the past 20 years we’ve done what we call a Giving Tree, and we collect children’s books to donate to People to People for their toy project,” said Sue Dunlap, collection management associate at The College of Wooster Libraries, and a member of the committee that organized Booksgiving. “This year we decided that since Christmas isn’t celebrated by everybody on campus obviously, we’re more diverse than that. So we went with kind of a Booksgiving theme, and wanted to start earlier. I don’t know if everybody also celebrates Thanksgiving, but I think it maybe encompassed more of the community.”

The book drive usually asks for new and gently used children’s books. These books range from young adult fiction novels to children’s almanacs to ornate picture books.

In addition to making the book drive Thanksgiving, instead of Christmas, themed, Dunlap also changed the types of books they were primarily looking for.

“We collect children’s books, but the emphasis this year was on diversity themes, if possible. Also [People to People] always seem like they need more teenager, young adult type books. It’s easy, I think, for people to buy a bunch of little kid books, so we try to emphasize that we needed some young adult books,” said Dunlap.  

Although all genres are welcome, this year’s book drive theme is, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” “It’s just kind of a topic that the campus is really engaged in right now, we wanted to be part of that,” Dunlap said.  

Dunlap encourages anyone to donate books, including students, faculty and staff.

“A lot of the library staff usually participate in this,” she said. “The books just show up in the boxes, and we’ve probably got over 70 right now, so we’ve had a good start this year. Whoever wants to donate can just bring them in and put them in the box. They don’t have to do anything else except donate them.” Dunlap said that 70 books are “about average” for the total amount the libraries collect each year. 

Booksgiving started Nov. 1 and lasted for most of the month of November, ending Thursday. People to People  will distribute the books, as well as other toys collected in local drives, to underprivileged children the next week in December.  

“It makes a difference for those who may not receive a holiday gift otherwise, and what ‘toy’ could be better than a book?” said Herold. “Books take us on adventures when we cannot travel, help us explore themes and topics and are renewable as in you can read them repeatedly and share them with others.”

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