Last Saturday, the Scouts BSA and Ardmore Literacy Leadership joined forces for the Arbuckle Book Trade. The event promoted both environmentalism and literacy by selling used books that would otherwise end up in a landfill or sitting unread on the shelf.
ALL Executive Director Ari James said the public donated around 4,500 books to sell at the event. Between sponsorships and book sales, the two groups ended up raising approximately $800 that they will split. However, at the end of the day, several books remained and needed to be distributed. One collection of books in particular posed an issue because of their specialized medical focus.
“One of our donations had around 1,500 medical books mixed in with it,” James said. “These weren’t just text books but in-depth research and guidebooks for physicians and nurses on specific diseases. It had everything from AIDS and HIV to chronic illnesses and autoimmune issues.”
Event patrons were not interested in purchasing such technical books, but James wanted to ensure the books did not end up being discarded.
“Part of this event was to not have these books go into a landfill, so we weren’t just going to throw them away,” James said. “It’s also difficult to recycle books — especially ones with glossy paper. So I started asking around about nonprofits that specialize in medical texts.”
James came across Global Medical Libraries, a nonprofit organization out of California that connects people who have these types of books to people overseas that do not. With the help of GML, all of the medical texts will now be shipped to Ghana where they can be put to good use.
“In areas of the world where they don’t have reliable internet access and the ability to just call up a specialist, for them to have resources like this can be invaluable,” James said. “This collection is basically half a medical library all on its own.”
James said ALL will send the books via the USPS to the American Embassy in Ghana, and another nonprofit in the region will pick up the books and deliver them to their final destination.
“Because this is through a nonprofit, the Postal Service will be giving us an inexpensive bulk rate. 1,500 books sounds like a lot — and it is — but they’re packaged into smaller boxes and will all be going to the same place,” James said. “It sounds like it would be super expensive, but it’s really not.”
James said other remaining books will be distributed to other locations around the community. Two area nursing homes will be receiving several western and Christian fiction novels because their residents enjoy reading those genres. Other local nonprofits such as the Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma and the Boys and Girls Club will be receiving books as well.