Lenox Library receives books from Library of Congress

Sep 6, 2013

Local residents have a wider selection of titles to check out at the Lenox Township Library thanks to a donation made by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller last week.

Miller made her first visit to the library Sept. 3 to donate dozens of books acquired through the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program.

“I’m always happy to receive books,” Library Director Karen White-Owens said of the roughly 75 books shipped in from Washington, D.C. “We always can use them. My philosophy is you read to write; you write to read.”

The Library of Congress routinely donates surplus books to eligible organizations and institutions. When a book is published, extra copies are submitted to the Library of Congress and later donated when they are no longer needed. All of the books are new and unused.

“When I was a secretary of state back in the day, I remember really at that time the internet was just really starting to come on and everybody said, ‘Oh, you know, once all this happens, libraries will become so passé,’” Miller said, “but you know what? Libraries are more important actually now than they have ever been I think.”

The purpose of the program is to build library collections, according to the Library of Congress website. Books selected from the program may not be sold for any reason.

Macomb County Board of Commissioner Kathy Vosburg joined the group at the library to show her support of the program.

“Libraries are still very relevant in everyone’s lives because you can access things electronically through your library if electronically is how people want to go,” she said before Miller arrived. “There’s still something very satisfying to me about just picking up a book and curling up with it and reading it and taking it with you wherever you want to go and you don’t have to worry about the battery.”

White-Owens agreed with Vosburg, but noted the importance of keeping pace with changes in technology.

“Because so many people cannot afford some of the things that they need, we provide a lot of opportunities for them to use computers and faxing and we’ve been able to give them some help,” she said. “It’s what it’s always been – a place of learning. We just change with the society and with what’s going on in the world.”

Miller told the group of employees gathered around a small table in the library that she became more involved with libraries during her time as secretary of state. In her most recent role as U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 10th district, she became a member of the Library of Congress Caucus.

“I was talking to the Librarian of Congress, Jim Billington, who is a national treasure, and he said, ‘You know, if there’s anything that we can do to help you out let us know,’ and I said, ‘You know, our district has been particularly hard hit with the economic transition; do you have anything that’s really good that’s free?’” she laughed.

New books shipped in from the East Coast range from fiction and non-fiction to children’s and educational selections. Titles include “Thomas Jefferson and the Education of a Citizen,” “Best American Side Dishes” and “Puppy’s First Christmas.”

Miller said the Library of Congress houses a wide variety of materials and encouraged library employees to let her know if the facility is in need of any particular types of books in the future. She said she recently donated boxes of sheet music to an arts group in Lexington.

The Lenox Township Library serves about 11,000 people in Lenox Township and New Haven. It houses more than 16,000 items and circulates nearly 18,000 items each year.

For more information, go to lenoxlibrary.org or call the library at (586) 749-3430.